Smith, an 81-year-old GOP donor from Chicago, was found dead in a Rochester, Minnesota hotel room on May 14.
Working independently of the Trump campaign and starting in May 2016, Smith told the Wall Street Journal that he and his team worked to acquire tens of thousands of Hillary Clinton's emails that had been deleted by the former Secretary of State because they described "personal" matters. The Journal's lead reporter on the story said they had no reason to believe foul play was a factor, and it was most likely Smith died of natural causes. He died at the Aspen Suites in Rochester, which the report characterized as a "hotel used nearly exclusively by Mayo Clinic patients and relatives".
Shocking new details have revealed a Republican operative who died previous year just days after admitting he was searching for Hillary Clinton's missing emails committed suicide in a hotel room.
In Smith's hotel room, he left a "statement police called a suicide note in which he said he was in ill health and a life insurance policy was expiring", the Tribune reported.
A former employee told the Tribune he thought Smith went to the Mayo Clinic for treatment of a heart condition. The hotel he was staying in at the time of his death was predominantly used by patients at the nearby clinic.
It was previously known that Smith had died, but it has only become clear that suicide was the cause thanks to a Minnesota state death record obtained by the Tribune.
Authorities also found a receipt from a local Walmart for a helium tank and pliers.
According to the Journal, Smith had sent out communications as he searched for the emails and mentioned that retired Gen. Michael Flynn, who was a member of President Donald Trump's campaign team, and Flynn's son knew about his efforts.
Smith's account is consistent with the findings from U.S. investigators examining Russia's involvement in the 2016 USA presidential election, according to sources cited by The Journal.
A private-equity executive and a longtime opposition researcher for conservative groups, Smith told Harris last month that he had found several hacker groups-two of them Russian-that claimed to have access to Clinton's e-mails, although he couldn't confirm their authenticity.