Roger Ailes, the founder and former chairman of Fox News, died Thursday morning. He was 77.
The news was broken by the Drudge Report, which was given a statement by Ailes’s wife, Elixabether:
I am profoundly sad and heartbroken to report that my husband, Roger Ailes, passed away this morning,” she wrote. “Roger was a loving husband to me, to his son Zachary, and a loyal friend to many. 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. 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 was ousted from the network in July 2016 amid allegations of sexual harassment. Led by former anchor Gretchen Carlson, who said Ailes had derailed her career for refusing to have sex with him, some two dozen other women said Ailes had harassed them over the course of his career. Ailes denied the claims.
From an obituary by Fox News:
Ailes was born in Warren, Ohio, and attended Ohio University in Athens, where he majored in radio and television. After graduating in 1962, he launched his career in black and white-era television by working for then-local personality Mike Douglas. When the show was syndicated a few years later, Ailes star rose with it.
It was during a 1967 appearance on The Mike Douglas Show that Ailes met future president Richard Nixon, who later tapped him to serve as his executive producer for television.
That experience began a decades-long dual track in which Ailes cast long shadows over both televsion and politics, culminating in his founding of Fox News.
In 1984, Ailes worked on President Reagan’s re-election campaign. Four years later, he was a key player in the successful presidential campaign of George H.W. Bush. helping to plot effective messaging and television advertising strategies.
As recently at last fall’s election, and after his career at Fox had ended, Ailes reportedly advised President Trump in preparation for debates.
According to TMZ: “Ailes fell at his Florida home 8 days ago and hit his head. We’re told Ailes fell unconscious and his condition went downhill. Our sources say he fell into a coma Wednesday and died Wednesday night.”