Former Fox News CEO Roger Ailes dead at 77

FILE - In this Feb. 9, 2015, file photo, Roger Ailes attends a special screening of "Kingsman: The Secret Service" in New York. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP, File)

UPDATED - The death of former Fox News chairman and CEO Roger Ailes was ruled accidental. See the updated details here.


Former Fox News Chairman and CEO Roger Ailes has died at 77, according to the Drudge Report.

"I am profoundly sad and heartbroken to report that my husband, Roger Ailes, passed away this morning. 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' wife Elizabeth said in a statement posted on the site.

Palm Beach County Medical Examiner told WPEC reporter Michael Buczyner that Ailes’ remains will be brought there within a few hours.

According to CNN, Ailes had fallen in his home last week, suffered complications, and slipped into a coma. WPEC obtained a copy of the police report on the fall, which notes "serious bleeding" but says there were no special concerns reported.

Ailes resigned from his position at Fox last year amid allegations of sexual harassment.

Former "Fox & Friends" host Gretchen Carlson sued Ailes in July, claiming her firing was retaliation for rebuffing his sexual advances. That suit was later settled after Ailes stepped down.

Numerous other women, including anchor Megyn Kelly, came forward with similar allegations, all of which he denied.

Ailes launched Fox News in 1996, building it into a top-rated network and changing the landscape of cable news.

New York Times media columnist Jim Rutenberg described him as "the single most influential political-media figure of our times."

Several Fox hosts and frequent guests mourned Ailes' passing on social media.

"Today America lost one of its great patriotic warriors. Roger Ailes. For Decades RA's has impacted American politics and media," Fox primetime host Sean Hannity tweeted Thursday.

"On a personal note, were it not for Roger Ailes, I would not be the person I am today," he added in a series of tweets about Ailes' impact.

"OMG #RogerAiles is gone, devastating news, & Erica & I send our condolences to Beth, their son Zack & the entire family. He was a great man," wrote Geraldo Rivera.

"Roger Ailes founded one of the most important and successful media outlets in American history. I will miss his friendship dearly. RIP," conservative radio host Laura Ingraham said.

In a statement to Entertainment Weekly, Fox Executive Chairman Rupert Murdoch called Ailes "a great patriot who never ceased fighting for his beliefs."

"Everybody at Fox News is shocked and grieved by the death of Roger Ailes," said Murdoch, who hired Ailes to execute his vision for the network. "A brilliant broadcaster, Roger played a huge role in shaping America’s media over the last thirty years. He will be remembered by the many people on both sides of the camera that he discovered, nurtured and promoted."

Last fall, Ailes aided President Donald Trump with debate preparations.

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