FARGO — Longtime broadcaster Ed Schultz has died.
Sources say in Fargo that Schultz died of natural causes in Washington, D.C. He was 64.
Schultz, a local and national radio and television personality, got his start as a sports broadcaster for Fargo-Moorhead television stations in the early 1980s, including time as sports director at WDAY-TV. He eventually moved to talk radio, including WDAY radio, dominating the local airwaves as a conservative firebrand in the 1990s.
However, he later said his views changed and he became a Democrat.
In 2004, Schultz took his radio show nationwide. Then in 2009, he moved to national television, becoming a prime-time progressive voice on MSNBC.
Schultz parted ways with MSNBC in 2015, starting his job at RT America, formerly called Russia Today, in early 2016.
"I'm back in prime time at 8 o'clock where I belong," Schultz said at the time.
Schultz hosted a half-hour broadcast called "News With Ed Schultz." The most recent episode of his program was available on the RT website on July 2.
Schultz was happy for the opportunity at the time.
"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," he said.
RT America, based in Washington, D.C., is part of the RT network, a global multilingual television network that runs cable and satellite channels and Internet content. It is based in Moscow and funded by the Russian government. RT says the English-language channel has more than 700 million viewers worldwide.
Schultz, who was critical of Russian President Vladimir Putin while at MSNBC, said when he took the RT job that he didn't anticipate any problems with his new employer. "Nobody is going to tell Ed Schultz what to say," he said in a 2016 interview.
The Forum reached out to RT to confirm the circumstances of Schultz's death and for any statement they may have on his passing, but did not immediately receive a response Thursday, July 5.
Schultz's "The Ed Show" was dropped from MSNBC's daytime lineup along with two other programs in July 2015. The move ended the tenure of one of MSNBC's longest-serving hosts. Schultz had been on the air since 2009. He was a prime-time fixture on the network from 2011 to 2013.
"I could have retired. That's not Ed Schultz; I'm not ready to do that. I got a lot of tire left. I have a lot of desire. This gives me a chance to do something that I haven't had an opportunity to do in my career," Schultz said in 2016.
Schultz is a graduate of Minnesota State University Moorhead, where as a football quarterback he was named an All-American.