Former New York Post gossip columnist Liz Smith, who won her own A-list status with her witty chronicling of the glitterati, died of natural causes on Sunday, said her literary agent, Joni Evans.

Smith, who was one of the first gossips to start covering Madonna, was also responsible for officially breaking the news of Madonna’s pregnancy with her now 21-year-old daughter, Lourdes Leon, in the New York Post. At the time, Smith was a columnist at the paper, and said, “Madonna wanted the news released in as low-key a manner as possible” – which, for the pop star, meant it was Page 1 news.

Madonna with Liz Smith

Smith later defended Madonna amid a brouhaha surrounding her marital status, pointing to her divorce from Sean Penn as her impetus behind not marrying Lourdes’s father, trainer Carlos Leon. Said Smith, “Madonna can’t do anything right as far as most of the press is concerned. I think if she took the veil it would be criticized.”

Years later, Smith said of their friendship, “She’s an extremely talented, deeply complicated woman. We were close for a while, or as close as anyone can get to her. The first time we met, she glowered at me and said, ‘Aren’t you scared of me?’ I just laughed. We got along real well after that.”

via New York Post / Yahoo