Fox News Founder, Roger Ailes, Dead at 77

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 previous year for alleged sexual harassment, died Thursday, according to his wife, Elizabeth Ailes.

Elizabeth Ailes statement said, "Roger was a loving husband to me, to his son Zachary, and a loyal friend to many".

The cause of death and where Ailes died was not reported. Ailes denied the allegations, saying the reason her contract was not renewed was due to "disappointingly low ratings".

After his ouster, at least 20 other women came forward with allegations of sexual harassment against Ailes.

Others were more blunt: "American politics would have been infinitely better off had Roger Ailes gone to barber college", blogger Charles Pierce tweeted.

"Ailes was a brilliant TV executive who saw an opportunity two decades ago to build a conservative news source and seized it, and then with his singular and rigid focus he succeeded beyond even his wildest dreams".

Ailes began his television career in the early 1960s as a producer at The Mike Douglas Show in Cleveland, and went onto serve as media consultant for several Republican presidents, including Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan.

Ailes was sacked from Fox News previous year after he was accused of sexual harassment by more than 25 women.

Fox News anchor Sean Hannity tweeted a multi-part tribute to the man he credits with making him who he is today, calling him a "true American original" and "one of [America's] great patriotic warriors".

"Roger Ailes was a genius at politics and the news media".

Fox anchor Bill Hemmer, looking shaken, announced Ailes' death to his audience, ending his brief report by saying, softly, "Wow!"

Roger Ailes leaves behind a controversial legacy that will likely be viewed along partisan lines.

Some of Ailes' ideologies probably transferred to Nixon, and ultimately led to him resigning from office. But it will likely make things much harder for Fox News's parent company, 21st Century Fox, lawyers say - one management-side attorney said the death of a key person in such a case is "a defendant's worst nightmare" - adding to the pressure for them to settle.

Some will mourn, some will cheer, but there is no doubt that Roger Ailes left his imprint on the Media establishment in America.

In this August 17, 1988 file photo, Vice President George H.W. Bush, left, gets some advice from his media advisor, Roger Ailes, right, as they stand behind the podium at the Superdome in New Orleans, La., prior to the start of the Republican National Convention.

Fox is owned by Mr Murdoch's Twenty-First Century Fox Inc.

Our thoughts and prayers now turn to him, his Wife Beth, his son Zachary, his brother and his family.



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