Former Fox News Chairman Roger Ailes is dead

Ailes was pushed out of Fox News last summer.

May 18, 2017, 4:47 PM

— -- Roger Ailes, the former chairman of Fox News, is dead at age 77.

Ailes' wife, Elizabeth Ailes, announced his death in a statement.

"I am profoundly sad and heartbroken to report that my husband, Roger Ailes, passed away this morning surrounded by his beautiful family," the statement said. "Roger was my best friend, the most wonderful loving husband and father to our son, Zachary. He was a loyal friend to so many. 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."

The Palm Beach County Medical Examiner ruled today that his death was accidental. According to the medical examiner report, Ailes died from complications of a subdural hematoma after he fell at his Palm Beach, Florida, home. The report said that there was no evidence of foul play.

According to the Palm Beach Police Department, Ailes suffered "serious bleeding" in his head from the fall.

A source told ABC News that Ailes had fallen into a coma while being treated at the hospital.

Rupert Murdoch, the executive chairman of 21st Century Fox and Fox News Channel, released a statement that Fox News employees were "shocked and grieved" to learn of Roger Ailes' death.

"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. 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."

Fox News' on-air talent took to Twitter to mourn Ailes.

Kimberly Guilfoyle, a co-host of Fox News' "The Five," called Ailes a "friend and mentor."

RIP #RogerAiles sending my love and prayers to Beth & Zachary. Roger was a friend and a mentor to so many of us @FoxNews he will be missed

— Kimberly Guilfoyle (@kimguilfoyle) May 18, 2017

Conservative talk radio host Laura Ingraham also posted about Ailes.

Ailes was born in Warren, Ohio, and studied radio and television production at Ohio University, according to Fox News.

After graduating in 1962, he started working on the "The Mike Douglas Show," which gave him "a keen eye for production," according to David Folkenflik, NPR's media correspondent and the author of "Murdoch's World: The Last of the Old Media Empires," about 21st Century Fox, the parent company of Fox News. Ailes went into politics after meeting President Richard Nixon, who made an appearance on "The Mike Douglas Show" in 1967, according to Fox News.

Ailes went on to advise President Ronald Reagan in 1984 and then–Vice President George H.W. Bush in 1988 for their election campaigns, according to Folkenflik.

In 1996, Ailes helped launch Fox News, which dramatically changed the media landscape. However, last summer he left the channel after former Fox News anchor Gretchen Carlson accused him of sexual harassment in a lawsuit. Other women at Fox News, including former host Megyn Kelly, have said that Ailes sexually harassed them during his tenure at the cable news channel.

Shortly after his resignation, he reportedly returned to politics. Sources told ABC News he was advising Donald Trump during his preparation for the presidential debates, although Trump spokeswoman Hope Hicks denied Ailes' involvement at the time.

"He is not advising Mr. Trump or helping with debate prep. They are longtime friends, but he has no formal or informal role in the campaign," she told ABC News in a statement last August.

Ailes is survived by Elizabeth Ailes and their 17-year-old son, Zachary.

This is a breaking news story. Please check back for updates.

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