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Roger Ailes, former Fox News chief, dies at 77

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(Reuters) — Roger Ailes, former chief executive of Fox News Channel, has died at age 77, Fox News said Thursday.

Mr. Ailes resigned from Fox News last July following allegations of sexual harassment, marking an abrupt end to his 20-year reign over America's most lucrative and powerful cable news channel for conservatives.
Fox News is owned by Rupert Murdoch's Twenty-First Century Fox Inc.

Mr. Ailes received a severance package of about $40 million when he left Fox News, according to a source familiar with the situation, and went on to serve as an informal adviser to Mr. Murdoch.

“Today America lost one of its great patriotic warriors," Fox News host Sean Hannity said on the channel on Thursday. "For decades, RA (Roger Ailes) has impacted American politics and media. He has dramatically and forever changed the political and the media landscape single-handedly for the better."

Brian Kilmeade, another Fox News host, said on the channel that Mr. Ailes “helped build Fox News Channel into the powerhouse it is today.”

Mr. Ailes' widow, Elizabeth Ailes, confirmed his death in a statement on the Fox News website. "I am profoundly sad and heartbroken to report that my husband, Roger Ailes, passed away this morning," she wrote.

The Palm Beach County medical examiner's office said Mr. Ailes died of complications from a subdural hematoma — a pool of blood on the brain — caused by a fall at home that injured his head. A Palm Beach police report showed Mr. Ailes fell on May 10.

The medical examiner's report said Mr. Ailes' hemophilia, which prevents blood clotting, contributed to his death, which it said was accidental with no evidence of foul play. 

"Everybody at Fox News is shocked and grieved by the death of Roger Ailes," Rupert Murdoch said in a statement.

"Roger and I shared a big idea, which he executed in a way no one else could have," he added. "Roger was a patriot, who never ceased fighting for his beliefs."