Ailes' political legacy: GOP control in divided America

Roger Ailes, who built Fox News into a cable powerhouse before leaving the company previous year, died Thursday morning at age 77.

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

Ailes, who reshaped television news over five decades in the TV and entertainment industry, was 77. Even Rev. Al Sharpton - who was in many ways the opposite of everything Ailes stood for - paid tribute to him and said, "his impact on U.S. culture is undeniable".

His widow, Elizabeth Ailes, confirmed the news in a statement. In an excerpt from the 2013 biography "Roger Ailes Off Camera", Ailes said he knew his days were numbered. Ailes denied the allegations, saying the reason her contract was not renewed was due to "disappointingly low ratings".

And he made a point to smash the haters who were playing "checkers" while Ailes was "playing Chess 5 steps ahead at a whole other level".

A week before he died, former Fox News CEO Roger Ailes fell and hit his head at his Florida home, according to a 911 call log.

Mr Ailes served as a consultant to presidents from Mr Richard Nixon to Mr Ronald Reagan to Mr George H.W. Bush.

In a tweet on Thursday, Bush said, "He wasn't ideal, but Roger Ailes was my friend & I loved him".

The network he helped found in 1996 cited a statement released by his family confirming the late media mogul's death.

"Many people out there would say that he saved this country by starting the Fox News channel", added anchor Ainsley Earhardt.

"For better or worse & the ignominious end 2 his reign at Fox News, the impact of Roger Ailes on American politics & media was indisputable", Axelrod tweeted Thursday.

"The history of cable television will have a very big chapter on Roger Ailes".

During a four-minute tribute on his podcast Thursday, O'Reilly praises Ailes as a visionary and someone who "didn't take any guff from the left or the right" politically. Despite Ailes' denials of the allegations, he was forced to resign in the aftermath.

Adam Shaw is a political reporter for Breitbart News. Carlson reached a $20 million settlement with parent company 21st Century Fox in September 2016.

Fox News is owned by Rupert Murdoch's Twenty-First Century Fox Inc. More recently, he worked on debate preparations in the presidential campaign of now president, Donald Trump.

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 is survived by his wife Elizabeth and son Zachary.