Roger Ailes – who built Fox News into a money-making ratings powerhouse – has died at the age of 77.
“I am profoundly sad and heartbroken to report that my husband, Roger Ailes, passed away this morning,” his wife, Elizabeth, said in a statement.
“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.”
There was no immediate information on a cause of death.
Ailes started Fox News in 1996. With its slogan “Fair & Balanced,” the network grew into the cable news ratings leader.
He was arguably the most powerful man in American media, but suddenly lost his job last summer when Gretchen Carlson, a former Fox anchor, sued him for sexual harassment, and other women came forward to support her claims. He denied any wrongdoing and Carlson settled a lawsuit for a reported $20 million.
Ailes was a media consultant for Republican presidents Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, and George H. W. Bush, and for Rudy Giuliani’s first mayoral campaign.
In 2016, he was an adviser to the Donald Trump campaign, where he assisted with debate preparation.