Fox News anchors only learned of the death of its former chairman and CEO from Drudge Report. Roger Ailes died aged 77, according to his wife Elizabeth, who released a statement to Matt Drudge. In a breaking news segment tweeted by the network on Thursday morning, Fox & Friends’ Steve Doocy reported: ‘Roger Ailes, one of the founders of the Fox News channel has died. ‘They have published, Drudge has, a statement from his wife Elizabeth.’ The statement was then read out before Ainsley Earhardt added: ‘Beth you are in our thoughts and our prayers, and so is Zachary, their beautiful son. Roger, rest in peace.’ His death comes less than a year after he resigned from the company over allegations of sexual harassment. His wife Elizabeth, with whom he has one son, 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. ‘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,’ the statement reads. There was no further information on the cause of Ailes’ death. He celebrated his 77th birthday on Monday. Ailes had struggled with his health. He had hemophilia, multiple surgeries to replace his joints and a secret prostate surgery a few years ago that put him on an extended leave from the network, according to New York magazine reporter Gabriel Sherman. Last year, Sherman reported that Ailes was still having trouble walking and rarely left his executive suite. A friend who ran into Ailes in Palm Beach over the 2015-2016 holidays told the magazine that he was using a walker at the time. In an excerpt from the 2013 biography Roger Ailes Off Camera, Ailes said he knew he didn’t have long left to live. ‘My doctor told me that I’m old, fat, and ugly, but none of those things is going to kill me immediately,’ he told the author, Zev Chafets, shortly before his 72nd birthday. ‘The actuaries say I have six to eight years. The best tables give me 10. Three thousand days, more or less.’ He added: ‘I’d give anything for another 10 years.’
Unfortunately, it wasn’t meant to be. I heard Rush’s wonderful tribute to Roger this afternoon on his radio show. Our prayers are definitely with Beth and Zach. R.I.P., Roger.