Ed Schultz, the former MSNBC host and political commentator, died Thursday at age 64.
Sources told Fargo's WDAY-TV News he died of natural causes in Washington, D.C.
Schultz was born in Norfolk, Virginia but started his broadcasting career in North Dakota after a brief football career. In Fargo, he mostly worked as a sports broadcaster. In 1992, he joined WDAY-FM as a conservative political commentator. He joined KFGO four years later, but his political views began to take a left turn after he visited a Salvation Army in 1998 and took his radio show on the road.
“I heard about what people are really concerned about,” Schultz told the Virginian-Pilot in 2004. “The kitchen table issues: the struggle on family farms, the under-funding of schools, the lack of support for vets, which leads to homelessness, the risks of being uninsured, and the rising costs of health insurance for those who can even get insurance. These were the on-the-job experience that have changed my thinking as to where we’re going as a country.”
In 2004, his radio show went national, and five years later, he joined MSNBC to host The Ed Schultz Show. The primetime show ran until 2015, when Schultz raised eyebrows by joining the U.S. version of Russia's RT network, where he hosted the half-hour News with Ed Schultz. There, he started praising President Donald Trump and was even invited to CPAC last year.
"If you're going to have an exchange of ideas, the only thing you can do is to meet people face-to-face in front of a crowd who may think differently than you do." Schultz said in a video to explain why he was going to CPAC. "I mean, that's what democracy is about, isn't it?"
"This is a great career opportunity. It’s an international news organization that functions on all continents. It’s something that I have never had the opportunity to do, and that’s anchor a nightly news program," Schultz said when he joined RT.
Earlier this year, Schultz appeared to hint MSNBC fired him for supporting Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders over Hillary Clinton. He claimed the network told him he would not be covering Sanders' 2016 campaign launch. The network was "in the tank for Hillary Clinton," Schultz told the National Review's Jamie Weinstein.
Schultz considered running for political office multiple times during his career, but chose not to.
Schultz is survived by his second wife Wendy and his six children.
Photo Credit: John Lamparski / Getty Images for Hulu