George HW Bush weighs in on Ailes' death

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Former Fox News chief Roger Ailes dead at 77

Update 4:45 p.m.: The Palm Beach County, Florida, Medical Examiner's Office ruled the death of Roger Ailes an accident, according to a news release issued Thursday afternoon. Fox News still sits in the number one position for cable news at this writing.

Ailes died at 77, his wife said in a statement Thursday morning.

Mr Ailes, she said, was "the most wonderful loving husband (to me) and father to our son Zachary".

"He was... profoundly grateful to live in a country that gave him so much opportunity to work hard, to rise- and to give back", the statement read.

Ailes' resignation in 2016 was a shocking fall from grace.

Ailes also reportedly clashed with James and Lachlan Murdoch, the sons of 21st Century Fox executive chairman Rupert Murdoch, sometimes over personal matters and sometimes over political coverage.

"A brilliant broadcaster, Roger played a huge role in shaping America's media over the last thirty years", Murdoch said in a statement.

In this August 17, 1988 file photo, Vice President George H.W. Bush, left, gets some advice from his media advisor, Roger Ailes, right, as they stand behind the podium at the Superdome in New Orleans, La., prior to the start of the Republican National Convention. He added that "Roger and I shared a big idea which he executed in a way no one else could have".

We may never know for certain whether Ailes instructed his wife, Elizabeth, to break the news this way.

Hosts Bret Baier, Bill Hemmer, and Sean Hannity quickly praised Ailes, and Ainsley Earhardt choked up on "Fox & Friends" while announcing Ailes' death.

The founder of Fox News and longtime Republican political operative had a profound influence on American life, building Fox News into a powerhouse that transformed the media landscape and conservative politics. Ailes denied the allegations, saying the reason her contract was not renewed was due to "disappointingly low ratings".

Ailes, a hemophiliac who was born in the factory town of Warren, Ohio, was hospitalized numerous times as a child and consequently developed a matter-of-fact attitude about mortality.

In the years that followed, as NPR's David Folkenflik has reported, Ailes "kept toggling between producing television specials and serving as a political consultant, sometimes doing both at once".

Ailes worked on the show, which was taped at the then-KYW-TV building at 16th and Walnut Streets during his time there, until 1967, when he met Nixon during his second run for president. According to Business Insider, an attack ad Ailes made for Bush's 1988 presidential campaign is widely credited with helping secure Bush's victory.

He later helped build CNBC before Murdoch chose him to launch Fox News. He was also reported to have advised President Donald Trump in the campaign past year.

Ailes and Elizabeth were married in 1998.

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