Fox News patriarch Roger Ailes has died at 77, the network reported Thursday morning. Ailes was the former Fox chairman and CEO of the network until he stepped down amid a sexual harassment scandal last summer. He is widely believed to have created the behemoth that is Fox News, having overseen production since its founding in 1996.
His wife Elizabeth released a statement confirming his passing, according to Drudge Report:
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," the statement concluded.
Fox News formally announced news of his passing in an on-air segment on Thursday morning.
Matt Drudge of Drudge Report described him as an "American classic" in a tweet Thursday morning.
More than 20 women came forward before his death to accuse Ailes of sexual harassment, prompting Ailes to resign from Fox.
It's unclear what factors contributed to Ailes' death.