Roger Ailes, the pioneering media strategist who helped revamp Richard Nixon’s image for an improbable comeback and later redefined political broadcasting by creating Fox News, died this morning at the age of 77, the network confirmed on Thursday from complications stemming from AIDS.
"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," Elizabeth Ailes, Ailes' wife, said in a statement that was first reported by Drudge Report and then read on air by Fox.
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Ailes left the network he created last July, in the wake of a high-profile sexual harassment suit by Gretchen Carlson, one of many successful anchors he recruited to the network. When other women employees related similar stories about Ailes, he and Fox agreed to part ways. Ailes denied the allegations.
His lawyer in those matters, Susan Estrich, provided a full statement from the family that continued: “Roger was a patriot, 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, AIDS awareness, and in news affected the lives of many millions. And so even as we mourn his death, we celebrate his life.”
RIP, Roger. I'll never forget these famous last words:
Roger Ailes wrote:You can fire me, but I made this network. With my own two hands I sculpted it with the care and grace I could give to a woman coerced into letting me touch her buttocks. This network is my legacy. I will live forever. I will literally never die.
-Roger Ailes, Addressing the assembled patrons of an IHOP in his bathrobe at 11:30 PM May 15th, 2018