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Legendary Daily News columnist Jimmy Breslin dead at 86

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Jimmy BreslinJimmy Breslin — the cigar-chomping, hard-nosed newspaperman who won the Pulitzer Prize for his Daily News’ columns championing ordinary New Yorkers — died Sunday morning, according to friends and family members. He was 86.

The cause of death was not immediately released.

Breslin's colleagues mourned the loss of a street smart truth-teller who scoured the streets of New York, pen and paper in hand, looking for stories no one else could capture.

"There's all this talk now of American greatness — he spent his life looking for true American greatness," former News columnist Michael Daly said.

"If you want to know American greatness, go back and read all the work that Jimmy wrote."

The curmudgeonly columnist and author — whose velvety and witty writing style uplifted the downtrodden and eviscerated the scoundrels — crafted copy for The News, Newsday, the New York Herald Tribune and New York Journal American.

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