Roger Ailes has died, according to The Drudge Report. His wife Elizabeth’s statement appears at the top of the page.

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…

Ailes is unquestionably the father of new media, at least as it pertains to conservatism.  He began as a political operative and leveraged that experience into friendships with pioneer Rush Limbaugh, later producing his onetime TV show, to the helm of Fox News Channel, which primed the pump for conservative thought gaining access to mainstream TV and cable.  The wildly successful Fox dominated cable ratings as long as he ran it, and now seems to wane following his troubled departure.

There are few media people who are trailblazers anymore.  Even conservative talk has become cookie cutter.  Ailes started with a broadcast pro named Bill O’Reilly, who wasn’t really even conservative, and made stars out of then little-knowns like Sean Hannity, Megyn Kelly, Greta Van Susteren, his the staff on his news side, and more.  Ailes gave us all a lot and did not go out on his terms in a tough business.

Rest in peace, Roger Ailes.