Former Fox News Chairman and CEO Roger Ailes has died, the network says, citing a statement from the late executive’s family. Ailes resigned from his post leading Fox News last July, amid allegations of sexual harassment. He was 77.
Ailes helped found Fox News in 1996. On Thursday, the network initially announced his death by citing the Drudge Report, which had published a statement from Ailes’ wife, Elizabeth.
According to Fox News, that statement reads:
“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.”
Anchors of the channel’s morning show Fox & Friends were noticeably emotional in announcing Ailes’ death.
“Beth, you are in our thoughts and prayers,” co-host Ainsley Earhardt said, “and so is Zachary, their beautiful son. Roger, rest in peace.”
Breaking News: Former Fox News chairman and CEO Roger Ailes has died, his family announced. pic.twitter.com/AksPdNSZaI
— Fox News (@FoxNews) May 18, 2017
Ailes was famous for his shrewd leadership of Fox, including his focus on airing conservative opinions and hiring anchors and reporters with big personalities. But he left Fox with a tarnished legacy, facing legal actions over allegations of sexual harassment.
Ailes denied accusations that he built a culture at Fox that encouraged harassment, after a lawsuit by former Fox News anchor Gretchen Carlson prompted other women at the network, including high-profile anchor Megyn Kelly, to step forward with similar claims. He abruptly resigned last July.