The statement provided by Elizabeth Ailes called the king of conservative news "a patriot, [and] profoundly grateful to live in a country that gave him so much opportunity to work hard, to rise - and to give back".
But four years later, Ailes would become founder and CEO of the Fox News Channel.
Roger Ailes, who built Fox News into a conservative media empire and was a consultant for several Republican presidents before being ousted in a sexual harassment scandal a year ago, died today at the age of 77.
Under the leadership of Ailes, Fox became America's most widely watched cable news channel, home to key conservative political commentators and drawing an audience distinct from rivals CNN and MSNBC, AFP said.
Ailes had a storied career in television and politics.
Facing a lawsuit, Ailes resigned in July. O'Reilly was sacked his top-rated show at Fox in April after reports surfaced that the network had settled lawsuits with five women who alleged he sexually harassed them. He dismissed the allegations, but faced additional claims of misconduct.
Ailes reportedly received $40 million on his departure.
Some former colleagues on Thursday praised his contributions and place in history.
"He has dramatically and forever changed the political and the media landscape, single-handedly for the better", Fox News host Sean Hannity tweeted. "Neither will ever be the same again as he was a true American original".
Former Fox News host Bill O'Reilly paid tribute to his ex-boss on Thursday's episode of his No Spin podcast, calling him a "tough guy" who did very kind things in private, and who died with a broken heart because he was forced out of the network under a cloud of controversy. Charges Ailes had always denies. Media reporter for Politico, Hadas Gold, joins ...
Roger Ailes at a TCA event.
"Many media watchers believe that the conservative influence of Fox News paved the way for the election of Donald Trump", he said.
GREENE: All right, speaking this morning about the death of Roger Ailes at the age of 77 who created Fox News.
This revelation started a flood-over 20 women in all accused Ailes of sexual harassment over the following month, including Fox News star anchor Megyn Kelly. His behind-the-scenes work to shape a more appealing television image for Nixon during his successful 1968 presidential campaign was chronicled in Joe McGinniss' bestselling book, "The Selling of the President". He later worked for other Republican leaders, from Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush to New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani. Ailes died amid high payouts in lawsuits.
Ailes also had an eye for good candidates, Cross noted. "I am not going to exploit for political purposes my opponent's youth and inexperience".
In a separate case, former Fox News anchor Andrea Tantaros said Ailes and the network spied on her and hacked her phone and computer after she complained of harassment by Ailes.