Roger Ailes, who built Fox News into a cable powerhouse for leaving the company last year, died on Thursday morning at the age of 77 years.
The Ohio-born television pioneer was a confidant of presidents and a recognized master of the communication. He founded Fox News in 1996 and has built in the nation’s long-term No. 1 cable news network. Ailes resigned from Fox in July amid allegations of sexual harassment.
His widow Elizabeth Ailes, confirmed the news in a statement.
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Ailes was a legendary career in television and politics.
“I am deeply saddened and heartbroken to report that my husband, Roger Ailes, died this morning,” the statement read. “Roger was a loving husband to me, his son Zachary, and a loyal friend to many. He was a patriot, grateful to live in a country that gave him so much chance to work hard, to rise up and give back.”
The cause of death was not immediately released.
“Roger and I shared a great idea which he executed in a way that no one else could. In addition, Roger was a great patriot who never stopped fighting for his beliefs.”
– Rupert Murdoch
Rupert Murdoch, executive chairman of 21st Century Fox and Fox News Channel, said that he was saddened by the development.
“Everyone at Fox News is shocked and saddened by the death of Roger Ailes,” Murdoch said. “A brilliant broadcaster, Roger played a major role in the shaping of America’s media over the past 30 years. He will be remembered by the many people on both sides of the camera, he discovered, nurtured and promoted.”
Today America lost one of its great patriotic warriors. Roger Ailes. For Decades, RA’s influence on American politics and media.
— Sean Hannity (@seanhannity) May 18, 2017
Murdoch noted Ailes’ critical role in the creation of Fox News.
“Roger and I shared a great idea which he executed in a way that no one else could,” Murdoch said. “In addition, Roger was a great patriot who never stopped fighting for his beliefs.
“In the 21st Century Fox, we will always be immensely grateful for the good things he has built. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his wife Elizabeth, and son, Zachary.”
Fox News host Sean Hannity tweeted a tribute to his former boss in a series of posts.
RIP #RogerAiles one of the most impt broadcasters in the history of The genius who made #FoxNews -a good friend, who loved his family and country
— Geraldo Rivera (@GeraldoRivera) May 18, 2017
“Today, America lost one of its great patriotic warriors,” Hannity tweeted. “He is huge and forever changed the political and media landscape, single-handedly for the better.”
Ailes left Fox News under a cloud of controversy on 21 July, although he strongly denied the allegations.
Ailes was born in Warren, Ohio, and studied at the Ohio University in Athens, where he majored in radio and television. After graduating in 1962, he started his career in the black and white era of television by working for then-local personality Mike Douglas. When the show was syndicated a few years later, Ailes’ star rose.
He was not perfect, but Roger Ailes was my friend & I loved him. Not sure that I would be President w/o his great talent, loyal help. RIP.
— George Bush (@GeorgeHWBush) May 18, 2017
It was during a 1967 taping of “The Mike Douglas Show” and that Ailes met future president Richard Nixon, who later tapped him to serve as his executive producer for the television.
That experience started a decades-long dual track in which Ailes long shadows across both television and politics, culminating in the creation of Fox News.
In 1984, Ailes worked on President Reagan’s re-election. Four years later, he was a key player in the successful election campaign of George H. W. Bush, helping to the chart of effective communication and television advertising strategies.
He Later helped in the construction of CNBC before Murdoch chose him to launch Fox News.
As recently as last fall, the elections, and after his career at Fox had ended, Ailes reportedly advised President Asset in preparation for the debates.
Ailes and Elizabeth were married in 1998. Their only son, Zachary, was born on new year’s day 2000.