Former chairman and CEO of Fox News Roger Ailes died Thursday morning, less than a year after resigning from the company he built in the midst of sexual harassment allegations. He was 77.
His wife, Elizabeth Ailes, confirmed his death in a statement.
According to two family friends cited by journalist Gabriel Sherman, Ailes fell in Palm Beach, Florida, and had a blood clot after the fall. He suffered from complications from the clot and died afterward. Ailes had been hospitalized in the past after suffering from hemophilia, a condition in which blood doesn’t clot normally, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
“I am profoundly sad and heartbroken to report that my husband, Roger Ailes, passed away this morning,” his wife said in a statement. “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.”
A 2013 report in Vanity Fair discussed Ailes’ health conditions.
“Because of my hemophilia, I’ve been prepared to face death all of my life. As a boy I spent a lot of time in hospitals. My parents had to leave at the end of visiting hours, and I spent a lot of time just lying in the dark, thinking about the fact that any accident could be dangerous or even fatal,” Ailes said. “So I’m ready. Everybody fears the unknown. But I have a strong feeling there’s something bigger than us. I don’t think all this exists because some rocks happened to collide. I’m at peace. When it comes, I’ll be fine, calm. I’ll miss life, though. Especially my family.”
The ticker outside of Fox News’ office in Manhattan read “A giant passes.”
Ailes was hired by media mogul Rupert Murdoch in 1996 to launch Fox News but stepped down as head of the network in July 2016. His resignation came after numerous sexual harassment allegations against him. Fox News reportedly gave Ailes a $40 million severance package.
A bombshell report by Gabriel Sherman published in New York Magazine reported Ailes' long history of sexual harassment after former Fox News anchor Gretchen Carlson came forward accusing Ailes of sexual harassment, prompting numerous other women to step up.
In September, Fox News settled a lawsuit brought by Carlson for $20 million. Carlson, 50, reportedly had tapes in which she recorded Ailes sexually harassing her.
“I think you and I should have had a sexual relationship a long time ago and then you’d be good and better and I’d be good and better. Sometimes problems are easier to solve [that way],” Ailes reportedly said in one of the conversations.