Roger Ailes, the founder of Fox News Channel who resigned last year after sexual harassment allegations has died.
Ailes resigned from Fox News last July marking an abrupt end to his 20-year reign over America’s most lucrative and powerful conservative news channel.
Elizabeth Ailes confirmed her 77-year-old husband’s death in a statement published on the Fox News website.
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
“I am profoundly sad and heartbroken to report that my husband, Roger Ailes, passed away this morning,“ she wrote.
“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 give him so much opportunity to work hard, to rise and to give back.”
Ailes worked as a media strategist for Republican Presidents Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan and George H.W Bush before launching Fox News in 1996.
As founder, chairman and chief executive officer of the network, he became one of the most influential figures in the Republican Party and was integral to US President Donald Trump’s successful run for the White House in 2016.
But accusations of Ailes’ treatment of women would be his downfall.
In July 2016, Gretchen Carlson, a former Miss America who was given her own show sued him, claiming he made sexual advances towards her and then hurt her career in retaliation when she rejected him.
Two weeks later, Ailes was ousted from the network with a $36 million severance package.
Ailes had run Fox News under the slogan “fair and balanced” and conservatives celebrated it as a much-needed antidote to the perceived liberal slant of traditional media.
But critics denounced it as a cynical and polarizing right-wing propaganda machine.
“He helped market a brand of pseudo-journalism that revolves basically around hate, rhetoric, divisiveness, pitting people against each other,” Eric Boehlert, senior fellow at liberal media watchdog Media Matters for America, told Reuters.
“That seeps into the culture and into politics.”