Patricia Dunn, the former chair at HP, has died aged 58 following a long battle with cancer.

Her husband William Jahnke described Dunn as a "tenacious" patient who had fought ovarian cancer bravely, the Wall Street Journal reported. Dunn outlived her life expectancy by five years.

Dunn became well known in the mid 2000s, when numerous stories with sensitive information on HP leaked to the press. In reaction, Dunn, then chair of the company, allegedly hired private investigators to access phone records of her board colleagues and journalists.

She was forced to resign in 2006 as details of the investigations became public. She always maintained she knew no details of the investigators' tactics.

HP had since acknowledged that Dunn "did not authorise, direct or conduct the investigation", Jahnke said.

HP said in a statement: "Pattie Dunn worked tirelessly for the good of HP. We are saddened by the news of her passing, and our thoughts go out to her family on their loss."

Dunn is survived by her husband, two daughters, ten grandchildren, a sister and a brother.