Roger Ailes, the disgraced Fox News chairman who died at age 77, leaves behind a wife and son.
Ailes’ wife, Elizabeth Ailes, confirmed her husband’s death in a statement on the Drudge Report, in which she also mentions the couple’s son, Zachary.
Ailes was married three times.
Ailes, who resigned after a series of sexual harassment accusations and settlements, died on May 17 after a fall at his home.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Ailes’ Wife Says She’s Heartbroken by His Death & Called Him a ‘Patriot’
Despite the repeated allegations that Ailes subjected women to unwanted sexual advances during his career at Fox News, which he built from scratch in 1996, Ailes’ wife, Elizabeth Tilton, remained at his side.
She announced his death in a statement on the Drudge Report website, calling Ailes a “patriot” whose life should be celebrated.
“I am profoundly sad and heartbroken to report that my husband, Roger Ailes, passed away this morning,” Elizabeth Ailes wrote on May 18.
“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…”
2. Zachary Ailes Is Roger Ailes’ Only Child & Ailes Created a Memory Book for Zac to Open When He Died
Elizabeth and Zachary Ailes had a child together, Zachary, who is 17-years-old. He was born on New Year’s Day 2000. In the book Roger Ailes Off Camera, Ailes said he wants “Zac to know me” since he never really knew his father.
According to Vanity Fair, “Since Zac was four, Ailes has been putting things away for him in memory boxes; there are now nine, stuffed with mementos, personal notes, photos, and messages from Ailes to his son. They are meant to be opened when Ailes is gone.”
The box contained random memorabilia, reports Vanity Fair.
3. Ailes’ Attended His Son’s Basketball Games & Zachary Was Able to Shake His Father’s Focus on Work
According to the profile on Ailes in Vanity Fair, Zachary, known as “Zac” was his only child, and “perhaps the only person who could lure Ailes away from his office on a Wednesday afternoon.”
The reporter described Ailes sitting on the sidelines at a basketball game when Zac was 12, and added, “This was the third game of the season, and he had been there every time.”
After the game, recalled Vanity Fair, “Ailes put his arm on Zac’s shoulder. ‘I’m proud of you, son,’ he said. ‘Now, let’s get you home. You have schoolwork to do.'”
4. Ailes Was Raised in an Abusive Household
A New York Magazine profile discusses Ailes’ parents, and claims he was raised in an abusive family.
Ailes was born in May 1940 in Warren, Ohio, “then a booming industrial town,” the article reports.
“His father, a factory foreman, abused his wife and two sons. ‘He did like to beat the shit out of you with that belt … It was a pretty routine fixture of childhood,’” Ailes’s brother Robert told an author of a book about him, the magazine says.
“His parents divorced in 1960. In court papers, Ailes’s mother alleged that her husband ‘threatened her life and to do her physical harm,'” New York Magazine says.
5. Ailes Was Married Three Times
According to New York Magazine, Elizabeth Ailes was not Roger Ailes’ first wife.
Ailes first married his “college girlfriend,” the magazine reports. Little has been published about his first and second marriages.
“In 1998, two years after launching Fox, Ailes got married for the third time, to a woman named Elizabeth Tilson, a 37-year-old producer who had worked for him at CNBC,” reports New York Magazine. He was then 59.
His net worth was estimated at more than $100 million.