Roger Ailes, the former Fox News Network CEO, has died at 77 years old. The conservative-leaning news network confirmed Ailes' death Thursday morning by reading a statement from his wife, Elizabeth Ailes. "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," read the statement.

Roger Ailes: harassment accusations

Prior to his death, Ailes had most recently been in the news due to a series of accusations that he had sexually harassed several female employees at Fox News. Most prominent among his accusers were former network anchor Gretchen Carlson, and Megyn Kelly, one of Fox News' most popular personalities. Carlson, Kelly and as many as 5 other women alleged that Ailes approached them with crude language or sexual advances on several occasions. Ailes denied the accusations as false. It was enough, however, to lead to his firing from the news network he essentially built from the ground up. Carlson also filed a suit against Fox, which settled with her for $20 million.

Ailes was not alone, however, in his Sexual Harassment troubles at Fox. Shortly after Ailes' firing, Bill O'Reilly, arguably the network's biggest star, was ousted from the network after reports surfaced that Fox had settled with several women for as much as $13 million for their inappropriate interactions with O'Reilly. According to CNN, Fox's parent company has paid a total of $45 million in sexual harassment settlements.

A media architect

Roger Ailes spearheaded the creation of Fox News in 1996 by tapping into a large and loyal market of right-leaning viewers. Realizing those viewers felt disenfranchised by what they perceived to be a liberal-leaning media, Ailes crafted a network designed to resonate with America's more conservative audiences.

The result was a huge success, as the news network surpassed the ratings of rivals such as CNN and began to deeply impact on U.S. politics, especially among influencers on the far right. The network, however, became and remains a target of disdain for liberal viewers and Democratic loyalists.

Ailes previously served as an aide to Richard Nixon, and even then pushed for using television as a tool to advance the Republican and conservative agenda. He was a polarizing figure throughout his time in politics and media, so it comes as little surprise that his death has been met with a diversity of reactions across social media.