Roger Ailes, creator of Fox News Channel, dies at age 77

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FILE – In this Sept. 29, 2006 file photo, Fox News CEO Roger Ailes poses at Fox News in New York. Fox News said on Thursday, May 18, 2017, that Ailes has died. He was 77. (AP Photo/Jim Cooper, file)

Roger Ailes, who created the Fox News Channel, only to be ousted at the height of his reign for alleged sexual harassment, died Thursday, Fox News reported. He was 77.

Fox News executive chairman Rupert Murdoch issued a statement on the death of Roger Ailes, saying the media giant was “shocked and grieved” by his passing.

“A brilliant broadcaster, Roger played a huge role in shaping America’s media over the last 30 years. He will be remembered by the many people on both sides of the camera that he discovered, nurtured and promoted,” the statement read.

“Roger and I shared a big idea which he executed in a way no one else could have. In addition, Roger was a great patriot who never ceased fighting for his beliefs.”

According to a policy report by the Palm Beach police, Ailes fell and hit his head and was seriously bleeding eight days before his death.

A former Republican operative to candidates including Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, Ailes later turned his media savvy to running TV networks. In early 1996 he accepted a challenge from media titan Rupert Murdoch to build a news network from scratch to compete with CNN.

That October, Ailes launched the Fox News Channel. It became the audience leader in cable news. It also emerged as a powerful force on the political scene, while the feisty, hard-charging Ailes swatted off criticism that the network he branded as “Fair and Balanced” had a conservative tilt.

He was abruptly dismissed from Fox News in July 2016 in the wake of a lawsuit filed by former anchor Gretchen Carlson accusing Ailes of sexual improprieties.

Story by The Associated Press