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Former Fox News leader Roger Ailes has died

He lost his job last summer after being accused of sexual assault.

The man who built the Fox News empire, but was forced out amid sexual assault allegations, has died.

Roger Ailes died Thursday, his family confirmed to Fox News. He was 77.

In a statement to the news channel, Ailes' wife Elizabeth said:

"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."

It's not clear how Ailes died, but reporter Gabriel Sherman, citing family friends, tweeted he suffered complications from a recent fall.

Ailes founded Fox News in 1996. He grew it into a cable news powerhouse that also became an influence on right wing politics with the slogan "fair and balanced," CNN says.

Ailes lost his job last summer after former Fox anchor Gretchen Carlson filed a lawsuit alleging sexual assault. CNN at the time said he was "arguably the most powerful man in American media."

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