Roger Ailes, who founded Fox News Channel and resigned a year ago as its CEO amid sexual harassment allegations, has died.
Former President George H.W. Bush tweeted: "He wasn't flawless, but Roger Ailes was my friend & I loved him".
"He was... profoundly grateful to live in a country that gave him so much opportunity to work hard, to rise- and to give back", the statement read.
"He saw something in me and many others he hired that we never saw in ourselves, and forever changed the trajectory of thousands of people's lives". He held the position until 2016, when he resigned due to allegations of sexual harassment from Gretchen Carlson, a former news anchor.
After his ouster, at least 20 other women came forward with allegations of sexual harassment against Ailes.
Ailes was a prominent figure in American media as well as a powerful force in conservative politics, and many expressed their condolences.
According to a family friend who spoke with CNN, the former Fox News CEO fell at his home in Palm Beach, Florida, last week, suffered complications, and slipped into a coma.
A former GOP operative to candidates including Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, Ailes later turned his media savvy to running TV networks. Multiple women came forward previous year to report sexual harassment accusations, including prominent host at the time, Megyn Kelly.
"Today, America lost one of its great patriotic warriors", Fox News host Sean Hannity tweeted.More news: No US-EU in-flight laptop ban, for now
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"Roger Ailes was a genius at politics and the news media".
On Thursday, the network initially announced his death by citing the Drudge Report, which had published a statement from Ailes' wife, Elizabeth. "You rest in peace Roger and I hope that you are at peace".
Ailes molded the network to run like a political campaign operation, with primetime shows that were unabashedly conservative and hosts who openly espoused Republican talking points.
Some of Ailes' ideologies probably transferred to Nixon, and ultimately led to him resigning from office.
To a man who values loyalty so highly, being pushed out of Fox News - even with a $40 million golden parachute - must have felt like a betrayal.
Rupert Murdoch, executive chairman of 21st Century Fox and Fox News Channel, said he was saddened by the development.
"He wasn't ideal, but Roger Ailes was my friend & I loved him", chimed in George H.W. Bush.
In the years that followed, as NPR's David Folkenflik has reported, Ailes "kept toggling between producing television specials and serving as a political consultant, sometimes doing both at once".
Ailes is survived by Elizabeth Ailes and their 17-year-old son, Zachary.