Alan Colmes, the longtime liberal TV and radio host for Fox News, has died after a brief illness, the network announced Thursday. He was 66.
Colmes was best known as the left-leaning foil to conservative Sean Hannity on the prime-time Fox News show "Hannity & Colmes" when the cable news network launched in 1996. Hannity took over as a solo host in 2009, but Colmes remained with Fox News as a commentator and a syndicated radio host until his death.
Colmes had told listeners in January that he was dealing with a medical issue.
"When Alan and I started 'Hannity & Colmes,' there wasn't a day that went by where we didn't say we were the two most fortunate men in all television," Hannity said in a statement. "Despite major political differences, we forged a deep friendship. Alan, in the midst of great sickness and illness, showed the single greatest amount of courage I've ever seen."
Colmes was born in New York City and was a graduate of Hofstra University. He was a stand-up comic before he started working as a talk radio host for such New York radio stations as WABC and WNBC. Former Fox News Chairman Roger Ailes hired him to host alongside Hannity.
While the show was designed as a vehicle for left vs. right political debate, Colmes clearly was the amiable second banana to Hannity, now the boldest conservative firebrand on Fox News. But Colmes was well-liked among his colleagues across the political spectrum.
"He and I agreed on little, but I liked him immensely," senior Fox News political analyst Brit Hume said in a tweet.
Colmes also was an author, whose books included "Thank the Liberals" and "Red, White & Liberal."
He is survived by his wife, Jocelyn Elise Crowley. His sister-in-law is the conservative political commentator Monica Crowley.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
8:45 a.m.: This article was updated throughout with Los Angeles Times staff reporting.