Roger Ailes, founder and former CEO of Fox News, dead at 77

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NEW YORK - Roger Ailes, who built Fox News Channel into a ratings powerhouse over two decades before he was forced out in a sexual harassment scandal, died Thursday. He was 77.

The death was announced by his family and reported on Fox News.

Ailes started the network almost from scratch in 1996 and built it into not just a cable news ratings leader but a profound influence on the right wing of American politics.

Ailes was arguably the most powerful man in media when he suddenly lost his job last summer. Gretchen Carlson, a former Fox anchor, sued him for sexual harassment, and other women came forward to support her claims.

Ailes resigned July 21.

Ailes’ wife, Elizabeth Ailes, confirmed her husband’s death in a statement posted on the Drudge Report.

“Roger was a loving husband to me, to his son Zachary, and a loyal friend to many,” Elizabeth Ailes wrote. “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. “