New York – Roger Ailes, who built Fox News into a politically powerful cable giant that helped redefine US television news, has died, the network announced.

The Fox co-founder, who was also a consultant to Republican presidents, was ousted from the network last year under the cloud of a series of sexual harassment allegations.

The network’s hosts struggled to hold back tears as they read a statement from Ailes’ wife Elizabeth announcing his death at the age of 77.

A longtime confident of media titan Rupert Murdoch, Ailes was a central figure in the conservative US political movement.

He resigned in July after a sexual harassment lawsuit from former Fox news host Gretchen Carlson.

© GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA Drew Angerer Fox co-founder Roger Ailes, seen here with his wife Elizabeth, was ousted from the network last year under the cloud of sexual harassment allegations

© GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA Drew Angerer – Fox co-founder Roger Ailes, seen here with his wife Elizabeth, was ousted from the network last year under the cloud of sexual harassment allegations