Rupert Murdoch
The 92-year-old Rupert Murdoch is widely considered to be one of the most influential and controversial figures in the media. Mike Segar/Reuters

Following an impressive career spanning nearly seven decades, renowned Australian media magnate and creator of Fox News, Rupert Murdoch, is stepping down as leader of both Fox's parent company and his News Corp. media holdings.

Fox News announced today that Murdoch would become chairman emeritus of both companies and his son, Lachlan, will become News Corp. chairman whilst also continuing as the chief executive of Fox Corp.

Lachlan Murdoch, speaking on behalf of Fox, spoke of his father, saying: "We are grateful that he (Murdoch) will serve as chairman emeritus and know he will continue to provide valued counsel to both companies."

There has yet to be any word on why Murdoch's announcement has come so suddenly.

However, author and Murdoch biographer, Michael Wolff is publishing a book next week titled 'The End of Fox News', which speculates on what will happen after Murdoch leaves the company.

Rupert Murdoch is widely considered to be one of the most influential and controversial figures in media, due to his wrestling of market shares from other networks, along with facing a number of allegations of phone hacking, bribery and corruption.

Several of Murdoch's own papers and television channels have even been accused of biased and misleading coverage in order to support his business interests and political allies.

Nonetheless, the media magnate has held sway over public opinion via a global empire that included tabloids, sophisticated press like The Wall Street Journal and television properties in the States and England.

By 2000, Murdoch's News Corporation had owned over 800 companies in more than 50 countries worldwide, with an estimated net worth exceeding $5 billion.

He built his empire from a single newspaper in Adelaide, Australia, which was inherited from his father, and subsequently became a multi-billionaire. By 2020, Forbes estimated the Murdoch family's net worth to be in the region of $19 billion.

Besides Fox News, Murdoch started the Fox broadcasting network, being the first to successfully challenge ABC, CBS and NBC (collectively known as 'The Big Three'), with shows like "The Simpsons".

One of the darkest chapters in Fox's history came when the company was forced to pay $787 million to Dominion Voting Systems in order to settle a defamation lawsuit related to its coverage of Donald Trump's false claims of a conspiracy stealing the 2020 presidential election from him.

Additionally, stock in Fox Corp., while positive this year, began to significantly decline in early 2022 primarily due to lawsuits and investor anxiety over the loss of viewers to smaller media outlets.

In a humble letter to his employees, the 92-year-old Murdoch wrote: "The time is right for me to take on different roles. Our companies are in robust health, as am I."

"Elites have open contempt for those who are not members of their rarefied class. Most of the media is in cahoots with those elites, peddling political narratives rather than pursuing the truth."

"Our companies are communities, and I will be an active member of our community. I will be watching our broadcasts with a critical eye, reading our newspapers and websites and books with much interest," Murdoch continued, respectively.

The elder media magnate also vehemently promised that he would still "be involved every day in the contest of ideas".