Republican donor and operative Peter W. Smith committed suicide in a hotel room on May 14 in Rochester, MN near the Mayo Clinic there, according to the Rochester Police Department.
Days before his death Smith told the Wall Street Journal about his attempts to find 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton's missing emails from her private server that had acquired by Russian hackers.
Smith also implied during emails and interviews with the Journal a connection between himself and President Trump's former national security adviser Michael Flynn.
Flynn resigned in February amid reports he misled Vice President Mike Pence and other administration officials about his past communications with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.
Smith's suicide note, meanwhile, reportedly said that "NO FOUL PLAY WHATSOEVER" was involved in his death, adding he was taking his own life following a "RECENT BAD TURN IN HEALTH SINCE JANUARY, 2017."
The note also stated that timing relating "TO LIFE INSURANCE OF $5 MILLION EXPIRING" played a factor in Smith's decision to end his life at 81 years old.
Shane Harris, author of the Journal's article, tweeted that he did not know that Smith was planning to kill himself. Harris' original report says only that Smith died, not that he committed suicide.
When I spoke to Peter Smith I had no indication that he was ill or planning to take his own life.— Shane Harris (@shaneharris) July 13, 2017
Peter W. Smith, whose quest for hacked Clinton emails I wrote about a few weeks ago, reportedly took his own life. https://t.co/hfzaMVdt6u— Shane Harris (@shaneharris) July 13, 2017
Smith's death has set off a storm of conspiracy theories, with Trump supporters speculating that he was killed because he was digging up dirt on Clinton, and Clinton backers saying he died because he was the liaison between Flynn and Russia.
The various rumors have gained steam despite the lack of evidence supporting them. The Rochester Police Department distributed documents found at the scene, including a suicide note with a quote saying "NO FOUL PLAY WHATSOEVER" in his death.
Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA) on Thursday raised concerns about the details of the case on Twitter.
You don't need to be a prosecutor to know that someone writing NO FOUL PLAY WHATSOEVER in connection with a death seems awfully suspicious.— Ted Lieu (@tedlieu) July 14, 2017
Some have also compared Smith's death to the conspiracies surrounding the death of Seth Rich, a Democratic National Committee (DNC) staffer who was murdered in Washington, D.C. last year.
Imagine if people like Seth Rich & Peter Smith died trying to take down Trump rather than Hillary. We'd never hear the end of it from media.— Jack Murphy (@RealJack) July 14, 2017
Death records state that Smith's cause of death was "asphyxiation due to displacement of oxygen in confined space with helium."