Roger Ailes, the founder and longtime leader of Fox News, is dead. He was 77.
His wife, Elizabeth Ailes, confirmed his death in a statement to Drudge Report.
“I am profoundly sad and heartbroken to report that my husband, Roger Ailes, passed away this morning,” she said. “Roger was a loving husband to me, to his son Zachary, and a loyal friend to many.”
The controversial TV executive resigned from the No.1-ranking cable news network less than a year ago amid sexual assault allegations.
“He was also a patriot, profoundly grateful to live in a country that gave him so much opportunity to work hard, to rise-and to give back,” his wife said in the statement. “During a career that stretched over more than five decades, his work in entertainment, in politics, and in news affected the lives of many millions. And so even as we mourn his death, we celebrate his life.”
Ailes became the founding CEO of Fox News in 1996 after a career as a TV producer and political adviser, working with clients such as former President Richard Nixon.
He built the conservative-leaning news network into a ratings powerhouse headlined by anchors such as Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity and Megyn Kelly.
His five-decade career came crashing down in 2016, however, when Fox News anchor Gretchen Carlson sued him for sexual harassment.
The lawsuit controversy mounted up over a 16-day period and Ailes finally submitted his letter of resignation to News Corp. boss Rupert Murdoch last July.
By the time he left the network he built up, the chorus of sexual harassment allegations had grown to multiple female employees at the network and included Kelly, who left the network in January.
At first he reportedly took a $ 60 million golden parachute when he left — a number later reduced to $ 40 million.
A miniseries based on Ailes’ high-profile outster from the conservative network is currently under development by Showtime, Variety reported in April.
Murdoch became acting CEO of Fox News following the ratings king’s departure.
The longtime GOP strategist played a major role in President Trump’s election last November.
He was believed to have helped Trump prepare for his debates against Hillary Clinton, The New York Times reported last August.
But the relationship seems to have grown sour in the waning days of campaign season.
Ailes allegedly became frustrated by Trump’s inability to focus, New York Magazine reported in October 2016.
“He hasn’t been involved,” Trump told the publication. “I’ve maybe had two calls with Roger in the last two months.”