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Roger Ailes, Former CEO Of Fox News, Is Dead at 77

Former Fox News chairman and founding CEO Roger Ailes died on Thursday morning at 77 years old, a statement from his family says.

In the statement, his wife, Elizabeth, said,

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. 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.

No cause of death was specified in the statement, which was read live during Thursday morning's broadcast of "Fox and Friends," the video of which can be seen below.

Ailes is most known for leading Fox News from an upstart network to the nation's highest rated cable news channel.

His journey with the network began in mid-90s, when 21st Century Fox owner Rupert Murdoch hired Ailes, who at the time was an executive at NBC.

At NBC, Ailes led CNBC and America's Talking, a channel that eventually became MSNBC.

Since Fox News' debut in October 1996, Ailes has been credited with shaping conservative politics and changing the style cable news networks applied to their broadcasts.

After two decades, though, his journey ended last summer, after former "Fox and Friends" co-host Gretchen Carlson filed a lawsuit against Ailes, alleging sexual harassment.

The suit prompted at least six other women to come forward with similar allegations, including former primetime show host Megyn Kelly, who reportedly told investigators that Ailes made unwanted sexual advances.

Kelly eventually left the network and signed a contract in January with NBC. Meanwhile, Carlson settled with the network for an amount reported to be around $20 million.

Ailes, for his part, eventually resigned from his position at Fox News, and left the network with a payoff reportedly worth around $40 million.

His death comes nearly a year after that resignation.