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February 23, 2017 at 10:12 AM EST

This article originally appeared on PEOPLE.com

Fox News contributor and commentator Alan Colmes has died after a brief illness. He was 66.

America’s Newsroom co-anchor Bill Hemmer announced the news during Thursday’s broadcast of the Fox program.

“We have, yet again, some sad news to report here at the Fox News Channel,” said Hemmer. “Fox News contributor and frequent guest here in America’s Newsroom, Alan Colmes, has passed away.”

Colmes is survived by his wife, Jocelyn Crowley, who issued the following statement to the network:

“Alan Colmes passed away this morning after a brief illness. He was 66-years-old. He leaves his adoring and devoted wife, Jocelyn Elise Crowley. He was a great guy, brilliant, hysterical, and moral. He was fiercely loyal, and the only thing he loved more than his work was his life with Jocelyn. He will be missed. The family has asked for privacy during this very difficult time.”

The segment then aired a tribute package from Fox News host Sean Hannity, Colmes’ former co-host on Hannity & Colmes, a nightly political debate show that ran on the Fox News Channel from 1996 to 2009.

In a statement to Fox News, Hannity, 55, called Colmes “one of life’s most decent, kind and wonderful people you’d ever want to meet.”

“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 of television,” he said, noting that despite their political differences, the two “forged a deep friendship” over the years.

“Alan, in the midst of great sickness and illness, showed the single greatest amount of courage I’ve ever seen,” continued Hannity.

Colmes, a liberal political commentator, had appeared on Fox News since the channel’s launch in 1996 and was known for his often fierce debates. He also hosted the nationally-syndicated Alan Colmes Show on Fox News Radio.

Several journalists at the network have taken to social media to share tributes to their late colleague, including former Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly, who tweeted that Colmes “lit up the FNC halls” with his kindness and humor.

“I can tell you tears [are] flowing @FoxBusiness @FoxNews right now,” tweeted Countdown to the Closing Bell anchor Liz Claman. “We are all devastated by the loss of kind soul @AlanColmes may god bless RIP.”

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