Former Monica Lewinsky friend Linda Tripp has been beset by the most grave of troubles in her fluctuating fortunes.

Tripp's lawyers announced Friday that Tripp, the former White House employee who recorded conversations of friend Lewinsky discussing her personal relations with President Clinton, is suffering from breast cancer.

They said they decided to make her disease public to pre-empt a tabloid publication of her condition.

Lawyers Stephen M. Kohn and David K. Colapinto would not go into detail about her condition, saying only "we can confirm that Mrs. Tripp is demonstrating exceptional courage and personal dignity in meeting this challenge."

"This is indeed a very private and personal matter and we all hope that everyone will understand and respect her right to privacy in dealing with such a difficult challenge," they said in a written statement.

Cancer is the latest problem facing Tripp, who has experienced a string of bad news since her tape recordings of conversations with Lewinsky led to Clinton's impeachment hearings.

In December, a bank foreclosed on her Columbia, Md., home where she recorded the telephone calls with Lewinsky, the former White House intern who had an affair with Clinton.

She was forced to vacate her Pentagon job last year when the Bush administration came into office and like other political appointees, she was asked to leave. She didn't vacate her post and was eventually fired.

A federal judge late last year dismissed her allegations against former Pentagon spokesman Ken Bacon and an aide whom she accused in a lawsuit of leaking private information from her confidential personnel file.

Tripp's suit against the government alleging violation of the Privacy Act continues.

She currently lives in Middleburg, Va.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.