Thu. 9:48 a.m.: UPDATE: Elizabeth Ailes statement on death of Warren-native husband Roger Ailes

NEW YORK — This is the statement that Elizabeth Ailes released this morning on the death of her husband, Warren native Roger Ailes:

“I am profoundly sad and heartbroken to report that my husband, Roger Ailes, passed away this morning surrounded by his beautiful family. Roger was my best friend, the most wonderful loving husband and father to our son Zachary. He was a loyal friend to so many. Roger was a patriot, 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.

“Those who wish to join us in that celebration are encouraged to consider making a donation to the Marine Corps-Law Enforcement Foundation. This terrific organization generously provides scholarships to children who lose a parent serving in the United State Marine Corps or any Federal Law Enforcement Agency.

“Finally, at this time of sorrow and grief we ask you to respect our privacy.”

Roger Ailes, a 1958 Warren G. Harding High School graduate, transformed TV news by creating Fox News Channel.

A former GOP operative to candidates including Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, Ailes later turned his media savvy to running TV networks. In early 1996 he accepted a challenge from media titan Rupert Murdoch to build a news network from scratch to compete with CNN.

Ailes was 77. The cause of death has yet to be announced.