Fox News co-founder Roger Ailes is dead at the age of 77. The family of the former network executive said he passed away earlier this morning (May 18). His cause of death has not yet been revealed.
In a statement published by the Drudge Report, wife Elizabeth Ailes said:
I am profoundly sad and heartbroken to report that my husband, Roger Ailes, passed away this morning. 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 gave him so much opportunity to work hard, to rise—and to give back. During a career that stretched over more than five decades, his work in entertainment, in politics, and in news affected the lives of many millions. And so even as we mourn his death, we celebrate his life…
Ailes started Fox News with Rupert Murdoch in 1996 and built the US network into the conservative cable-news powerhouse it is today. But his legacy there was marred by scandal. He resigned last July in the wake of sexual-harassment allegations by multiple women he encountered at the network.
According to an excerpt in Vanity Fair of Zev Chafets’s 2013 Ailes biography Roger Ailes: Off Camera, Ailes had “a very acute sense of his own mortality.”
“I’d give anything for another 10 years,” he often says, and, typically, he has crunched the numbers.
“My doctor told me that I’m old, fat, and ugly, but none of those things is going to kill me immediately,” he told me shortly before his 72nd birthday. “The actuaries say I have six to eight years. The best tables give me 10. Three thousand days, more or less.”
Before he made his name in network television, Ailes was a powerful force in Republican politics. A former advisor to Richard Nixon, he maintained his political connections, and regularly advised Donald Trump during his campaign for president.