Fox News Founder And Former CEO Roger Ailes Is Dead At 77

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Fox News chairman Roger Ailes walks with his wife Elizabeth Tilson as they leave the News Corp building, July 19, 2016 in New York City.

Roger Ailes, the controversial former CEO of Fox News, was reported dead Thursday morning at the age of 77.

His wife Elizabeth Ailes provided a statement to the Drudge Report confirming his passing Thursday morning. In a statement, she praised him as a loving husband and father, a loyal friend and a patriot.

In the decades before he created a ratings juggernaut in Fox News, Ailes worked in politics, serving as a media adviser and consultant - most famously for Richard Nixon, whom Ailes helped to win the presidency in 1968. And so even as we mourn his death, we celebrate his life ...

"Deeply saddened by death of Roger Ailes".

"Today America lost one of its great patriotic warriors", Sean Hannity, a Fox prime-time host, said on Twitter. Past year when Gretchen Carlson made claims of sexual harassment, Ailes vehemently denied any wrongdoing on his part. The suit triggered similar claims from other women and an in-house investigation at Fox.

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Carlson said she was sacked for refusing Ailes' sexual advancements, and Tantaros alleged Fox News was "steeped in intimidation, indecency and misogyny".

The Fox co-founder, a consultant to Republican presidents widely credited with leading a revival of the U.S. conservative movement, was ousted from the network previous year under the cloud of a series of sexual harassment allegations. Ailes denied any wrong-doing, but leapt at the chance to retire early with a multi-million dollar severance package.

"Beth you are in our thoughts and prayers", co-host Ainsley Earhardt said, "and so is Zachary, their lovely son". That total included a $20 million settlement in September to former Fox and Friends co-host Gretchen Carlson, who filed suit against Ailes.

By the time he stood down, however, Ailes had become a central figure in the American political landscape - both revered by fellow conservatives, and vilified by the political left. "Many people out there would say he saved this country by starting the Fox News Channel", Earhardt said.

Roger Ailes attends a special screening of "Kingsman: The Secret Service" in NY on February 9, 2015.

Former president George H.W. Bush said he loved Roger Ailes, and a Democrat remembered the former Fox News chairman for his love of America.

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