Fox News Commentator Alan Colmes Dies at 66

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Alan Colmes in 2012.

He served as the liberal counterpart on the long-running 'Hannity & Colmes' debate show.

Fox News contributor Alan Colmes has died at 66, the channel announced on Thursday morning.

His wife, Jocelyn Crowley, told Fox News that he died after a brief illness.

"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," Crowley said in a statement. "He will be missed. The family has asked for privacy during this very difficult time."

Fox News anchor Bill Hemmer also announced the news of Colmes' death on the air. The network then broadcast a tribute package from Sean Hannity, Colmes' former co-host on Hannity & Colmes.

In his own statement, Hannity 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," Hannity added, saying that despite their political differences, he and Colmes "forged a deep friendship." "Alan, in the midst of great sickness and illness, showed the single greatest amount of courage I've ever seen."

A graduate of Hofstra, Colmes had a string of successful radio shows on WNBC, WABC and WMCA in New York, gaining a reputation as a hard-hitting liberal commentator. He hosted more radio talk shows on WEVD-AM and WZLX in Boston before landing a national afternoon radio show in 1990.

He joined Fox News Channel in 1996, serving as the liberal counterpart on Hannity & Colmes, a one-hour debate show, which aired on weeknights from 9-10 p.m. ET until January 2009.

He returned to radio recently, hosting the news-driven late-night talk show The Alan Colmes Show, which was syndicated nationally by Fox News Channel.

He had taken a leave of absence from the show, addressing listeners on Jan. 30.

"As I previously mentioned on the show last year, there would be times I would be taking off from the show to deal with a medical issue," Colmes said then, according to Fox News. "This is why I've been out recently and will be out this week as well. But I will be back taking your calls as soon as I can."

Colmes' Fox News colleagues have been mourning his death on social media, with Brit Hume and former Fox News anchors Megyn Kelly and Greta Van Susteren all tweeting about him. Other cable-news pundits have also taken to Twitter to remember Colmes.