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:
"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.
Roger brought news to life. A true American classic. So many stories... pic.twitter.com/2JZ17tUwPh— MATT DRUDGE (@DRUDGE) May 18, 2017
More than 20 women came forward before his death to accuse Ailes of sexual harassment, prompting Ailes to resign from Fox.
Deeply saddened by death of Roger Ailes. He had many critics and like ALL of us his sins, but I remember a great patriot, friend and boss.— Gov. Mike Huckabee (@GovMikeHuckabee) May 18, 2017
It's unclear what factors contributed to Ailes' death.