Former Fox News chairman and CEO Roger Ailes dead at 77

HARTFORD -- 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 on July 21.

A statement from Elizabeth Ailes, his wife, was released on the Drudge Report:

"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. During a career that stretched over more than five decades, his work in entertainment, in politics, and in news affected the lives of many millions. And so even as we mourn his death, we celebrate his life."