NEW YORK (AP) - Roger Ailes, the communications maestro who transformed television news and America's political conversation by creating and ruling Fox News Channel for two decades before being ousted last year for alleged sexual harassment, died Thursday, according to his wife, Elizabeth Ailes. He was 77.
Details are emerging about an accident Ailes suffered in Florida a few days before died. According to a Palm Beach police report, a caller contacted 911 dispatchers just before 2 p.m. on May 10, saying Ailes had fallen in his bathroom, hit his head and had serious bleeding.
The caller said Ailes was not responding appropriately to questions and was still on the ground. Paramedics arrived within a minute and he was taken to a hospital.
No other details were announced.
A former GOP operative to candidates including Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush and a one-time adviser to President Donald Trump, Ailes' TV network changed the face of 24-hour news. In early 1996, he accepted a challenge from media titan Rupert Murdoch to build a news network from scratch to compete with CNN and other TV outlets they deemed left-leaning.
But in little more than two weeks, both his legacy and job unraveled following allegations by former anchor Gretchen Carlson that he had forced her out of Fox News after she spurned his sexual advances. The lawsuit quickly triggered accounts from more than 20 women with similar stories.
Fox News executive chairman Rupert Murdoch issued a statement on the death of Roger Ailes, saying the media giant was "shocked and grieved" by his passing.
"A brilliant broadcaster, Roger played a huge role in shaping America's media over the last 30 years. He will be remembered by the many people on both sides of the camera that he discovered, nurtured and promoted," the statement read.
"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."