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Charles Sykes/Invision/AP

Roger Ailes, the former founder, chairman and CEO of Fox News, died today, Drudge Report first reported. He was 77.

His wife Elizabeth Ailes gave a statement to 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.

Fox News coverage below:

Breaking News: Former Fox News chairman and CEO Roger Ailes has died, his family announced. pic.twitter.com/AksPdNSZaI — Fox News (@FoxNews) May 18, 2017

Rupert Murdoch's statement:

"Everybody at Fox News is shocked and grieved by the death of Roger Ailes. A brilliant broadcaster, Roger played a huge role in shaping America's media over the last thirty 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.
At 21st Century Fox we will always be enormously grateful for the great business he built. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife Elizabeth and son Zachary."

Ailes before Fox: He was a media consultant for Presidents Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, and George H. W. Bush, and advised other politicians, including Donald Trump on the campaign trail. Prior to his work in political consulting, Ailes worked in local TV.

Aile's Fox News tick-tock:

Ailes was a notorious media mogul who led Fox News for 20 years before he resigned on July 21, 2016 amid allegations of sexual harassment and assault. Ailes wrote to his boss Rupert Murdoch:

"Having spent 20 years inside this historic business, I will not allow my presence to become a distraction from the work that must be done every day to ensure that Fox News and Fox Business will continue as the standard setters that they are. I am proud of our accomplishments and look forward to continuing to work with you as a consultant in building 21st Century Fox."

While Ailes denied all of the accusations, the reports from the six women who spoke out against him caused a career-ending controversy. Chief among his accusers were former Fox News hosts Megyn Kelly and Gretchen Carlson, who both alleged Ailes made unwanted advances toward them when they worked at Fox.

Read the complete timeline of how Fox responded to Ailes' accusations here.

Between the lines: After his resignation, Ailes was reportedly in talks with over media heavyweights to start a new conservative network that could rival Fox News, which many had believed had swung too far left. (The Murdoch family who owned the network began to reshape the franchise around less divisive personalities.) His and Bill O'Reilly's departure was timed with conservative rival Sinclair Broadcasting Group's acquisition of a slew of local cable channels, including conservative WGN, which could have been used to launch a rival to Fox under Ailes, some speculated.

In May, Fox News paid $45 million in settlements to the women accusing Ailes (and Bill O'Reilly). They also reportedly paid Ailes a $40 million exit payment. The Justice Department launched a probe into Fox News to determine whether or not the network should have notified shareholders about the settlements paid relating to Ailes' assault accusations.

Ailes was eventually replaced by Bill Shine, who resigned amid criticism of the way he handled O'Reilly's allegations.

Go deeper

Court rejects Trump campaign's appeal in Pennsylvania case

Photo: Sarah Silbiger for The Washington Post via Getty Images

A federal appeals court on Friday unanimously rejected the Trump campaign's emergency appeal seeking to file a new lawsuit against Pennsylvania's election results, writing in a blistering ruling that the campaign's "claims have no merit."

Why it matters: It's another devastating blow to President Trump's sinking efforts to overturn the results of the election. Pennsylvania, which President-elect Joe Biden won by more than 80,000 votes, certified its results last week and is expected to award 20 electoral votes to Biden on Dec. 12.

Dave Lawler, author of World
39 mins ago - World

Belarus dictator Lukashenko says he'll leave post after new constitution

Photo: Valery Sharifulin\TASS via Getty

Longtime Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko has said he will step down after a new constitution comes into force, according to Belarusian state media.

Why it matters: Lukashenko has faced three months of protests following a rigged election in August. He has promised to reform the constitution to reduce the near-absolute powers of the president, but has insisted that his strong hand is needed to see that process through.

3 hours ago - World

Iran confirms assassination of top nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadhe

The Iranian ministry of defense issued a statement on Friday confirming the assassination of Mohsen Fakhrizadhe, an Iranian scientist and the architect behind the Islamic Republic’s military nuclear program.

Why it matters: Fakhrizadhe was the head of the Amad project in the Iranian ministry of defense, which focused on developing a nuclear bomb until 2003.