Sean Hannity was among the first to pen a tribute, following the news that Fox News founder Roger Ailes died Thursday morning at age 77.
“Today America lost one of its great patriotic warriors. Roger Ailes. For decades [Roger Ailes] has impacted American politics and media,” Hannity wrote in a series of tweets. “He has dramatically and forever changed the political and the media landscape singlehandedly for the better. Neither will ever be the same again as he was a true American original. Few people in this life will ever reach the profound level of impact that Roger Ailes had on the country every single day. As his opponents played checkers in life, Roger was always the strategist, playing chess, [five] steps ahead at a whole other level.”
Hannity added, “On a personal note, were it not for Roger Ailes, I would not be the person I am today. In 1996 he took a huge risk on an inexperienced, young, local radio talk show host in Atlanta. To this day I have no earthly idea why I was hired and not fired early on, as I had little television experience when I was hired by FNC, as old tapes humbly remind me. He saw something in me and many others he hired that we never saw in ourselves, and he forever changed the trajectory of thousands of peoples lives. In many ways he was like a second father after I lost my father 6 months after I started at FNC in 3/97. I am forever grateful. His endless enthusiasm, energy, wit, humor and raw instinctive intelligence will be greatly missed. Our thoughts and prayers now turn to him, his wife Beth, his son Zachary, his brother and his family. He will be deeply missed.”
Ailes’ long career as a towering figure in television news and politics, including founding Fox News Channel, was tarnished by a sexual harassment scandal that ended with his being forced to resign from the company. Hannity wrote that he hoped Ailes’ would be “left alone.”
“It would be nice if the media would leave Roger and his family alone in their time of grief, but knowing people that hated him and his politics, and those that forget “all have sinned and fallen short” and “cast the first stone” I doubt that will happen,” Hannity wrote. But to his enemies know this; I say advantage Roger. In his mind he just has a head start in preparing to kick your a— in the next life.”
Many other prominent media figures have also chimed in online to mourn Ailes’ death.
Hannity later called into Fox News to talk about the impact Ailes had on his life and the media: