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Roger Ailes, Former Fox News Chief, Dies at 77

Ailes left Fox News last year amid numerous sexual harassment claims

Disgraced former Fox News CEO Roger Ailes has died at age 77, his family announced on Thursday morning.

According to a report released later in the day from Palm Beach County Medical Examiner’s Office in Florida, Ailes died from complications of a subdural hematoma after he fell at home injuring his head.

“Hemophilia contributed to his death and his manner of death was accidental. There was no evidence of foul play,” the report stated. No further information is available at this time, the full medical examiner report will be available in three to four weeks.

“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,” his wife, Elizabeth Ailes, said in a statement to the Drudge Report.

Fox News quickly broke into “Fox & Friends” with an alert confirming the news and the co-hosts sounded emotional while reporting the death of their former boss. Ailes resigned from the company in July after former anchor Gretchen Carlson filed a sexual harassment lawsuit that resulted in multiple women coming forward with similar claims.

Carlson settled with the network for $20 million and Fox News parent 21st Century Fox paid out $45 million to settle pending and potential litigation over the nine months since Ailes stepped down. Before the sexual harassment scandals emerged, Ailes was considered the mastermind behind the success of Fox News and one of the most powerful men in both media and American politics.

He started his career as a staffer on “The Mike Douglas Show” back in 1962 and was the program’s executive producer by 1967. While working on the program, Ailes developed a relationship with Richard Nixon and eventually worked on his presidential campaign.

Ailes has been a prominent member of the GOP ever since, working on several campaigns including George H.W. Bush’s successful 1988 presidential bid. He withdrew from political consulting in 1992, but is rumored to have advised Republican leaders in the years since, notably George W. Bush following the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

The former Fox News boss is also credited with bringing opinion back to news coverage, starting with America’s Talking, an NBC-owned network that eventually became CNBC. Ailes has also produced Broadway plays, served as president of CNBC and hosted a short-lived talk show during his career.

Ailes was named the founding CEO of Fox News in 1996 and the network quickly gained popularity while he called the shots. Fox News is now regularly among the most-watched networks in all of cable and dominates the cable news category.