Linda Tripp, central figure in the Clinton impeachment, dies at 70

Doha Madani
In this 29 July 1998 file photo, Linda Tripp talks to reporters outside of the Federal Courthouse 29 July 1998 in Washington, DC, following her eighth day of testimony before the grand jury investigating the Monica Lewinsky affair. Tripp's taped conversations with Lewinsky triggered the sex-and-lies probe dogging US President Bill Clinton.
William Philpott | AFP | Getty Images

Linda Tripp, the former White House employee who became a key figure in the impeachment of President Bill Clinton, died at age 70.

Tripp, who was battling cancer, died Wednesday, according to her former attorney Joseph Murtha. Reports of Tripp's condition surfaced earlier in the day after her daughter, Allison Trip Foley, wrote about her mother being gravely ill in a now-deleted Facebook post.

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Diane Spreadbury, a close friend of Tripp, told NBC News that it was great loss and Tripp was "a fantastic friend." Tripp's official cause of death is unknown, but Spreadbury told NBC News it was not coronavirus related.

Tripp secretly recorded her calls with then-White House intern Monica Lewinsky, tapes that paved the way for Clinton's 1998 impeachment for obstruction of justice and perjury about his sexual relationship with Lewinsky.

Lewinsky offered well wishes to Tripp on Wednesday after seeing reports that Tripp was ill.

"no matter the past, upon hearing that linda tripp is very seriously ill, i hope for her recovery," Lewinsky wrote. "i can't imagine how difficult this is for her family."

Tripp spoke publicly about her role in the presidential scandal during a National Whistleblower's Day event at Capitol Hill in 2018. The former civil servant defended her actions and said that her decisions came from a duty to hold power accountable.

"And yet it had nothing to do with politics, which is hard for anyone to understand if they remember the story many years ago," Tripp said. "What it was about was exposing perjury and obstruction of justice."

Tripp is survived by her husband, Dieter Rausch, and her two children.