Roger Ailes, one of the founders of an American giant cable network, Fox News, has died at the age of 77, the network announced on Thursday.
The cable network’s hosts struggled to hold back tears as they read a statement from Ailes’ wife, Elizabeth announcing his death.
Elizabeth’s statement, which was first published on the conservative Drudge Report, said: “I am profoundly sad and heartbroken to report that my husband, Roger Ailes, passed away this morning.”
Ailes, she said, “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.”
There was no immediate indication of the cause of death.
Under the leadership of Ailes, Fox became America’s most widely watched cable news channel. It became home to key conservative political commentators and drawing an audience distinct from rivals CNN and MSNBC.
But Ailes stepped down at Fox in July 2016, after a sexual harassment lawsuit from former news host Gretchen Carlson.
“Today America lost one of its great patriotic warriors,” said Fox News host Sean Hannity, in a tribute to his friend and mentor read out on air.
“Few people in this life will ever reach for the profound level of impact that Roger Ailes had on the country. As his opponents played checkers in life Roger was always the strategist, playing chess five steps ahead at another level”, he added.
- Bola Kougbe