Former Fox News CEO Roger Ailes dies at 77

Former Fox News CEO Roger Ailes dies at 77
Posted at 8:41 AM, May 18, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-18 05:45:51-04

(RNN) - Former Fox News chairman and CEO Roger Ailes died on Thursday morning.

Drudge Report released a statement Thursday morning from his wife, Elizabeth Ailes.

"Roger was a loving husband to me, to his son Zachary, and a loyal friend to many," she said in the statement. "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."

Fox News also made an announcement.

Ailes served as chairman and CEO of Fox News from 1996 to 2016. He stepped down from the network after several sexual harassment lawsuits mounted against him and others at the network.

Fox News paid him $40 million as a part of his exiting the network.

Former Fox News personalities Megyn Kelly and Gretchen Carlson both alleged that Ailes had made inappropriate sexual advances toward them.

Ailes oversaw the founding of Fox News. The network's owner and media mogul Rupert Murdoch hired Ailes in 1996 to build the network from the ground up. Before that Ailes worked as an executive for NBC and as a political strategist and consultant for Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush.

By focusing on conservative news coverage and visual presentation, he went on to build one of the highest-rated news networks of all time.

The former GOP staffer never fully exited the realm of politics. Besides leading an ideologically-driven news network, he also remained in close contact with Republican presidents.

After the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in New York City, Ailes offered his advice to former President George W. Bush. He was a debate coach for President Donald Trump during his successful campaign against Democrat Hillary Clinton.

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