Roger Ailes, Former CEO Of Fox News Dies At 77

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Roger Ailes, the communications maestro who transformed television news and America's political conversation by creating and ruling Fox News Channel for two decades before being ousted past year for alleged sexual harassment, died Thursday, according to his wife, Elizabeth Ailes. "He wasn't flawless, but Roger Ailes was my friend & I loved him", Bush tweeted. Roger was a patriot, grateful to live in a country that gave him so much opportunity to work hard, to rise-and to give back.

But there was a darker side to Ailes' conservatism and that played out very publicly a year ago when former Fox host Gretchen Carlson launched an explosive multi-million-dollar lawsuit against him, citing sexual harassment.

In November, then Fox News superstar Megyn Kelly also bolstered the women's claims when she detailed her own alleged run-ins with Ailes in her memoir, Settle for More, writing that she kept records of Ailes' behavior and shared them with investigators during Ailes' case.

Once a media consultant for Republican presidents Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, Ailes became the founding CEO of Fox News in October 1996.

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"Roger was a great patriot who never ceased fighting for his beliefs", the 86-year-old said in a statement. Sources told ABC News he was advising Donald Trump during his preparation for the presidential debates, although Trump spokeswoman Hope Hicks denied Ailes' involvement at the time.

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"Everybody at Fox News is shocked and grieved by the death of Roger Ailes", Murdoch said.

Murdoch led tributes to the late Fox News chairman, hailing what he called his "huge role in shaping America's media".

Brian Kilmeade, another Fox News host, said on the channel that Ailes "helped build Fox News Channel into the powerhouse it is today".

At least six other women have come forward with allegations against Ailes and top Fox News executives. In an excerpt from the 2013 biography "Roger Ailes Off Camera", Ailes said he knew his days were numbered. Carlson reached a $20 million settlement with parent company 21st Century Fox in September 2016.

Fox passed CNN as the most-watched cable news network in 2002 and has stayed number one ever since-as of last summer, the channel had a higher daily viewership than CNN and MSNBC combined.

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