Mark Felt died quietly in the reclining chair in his room at home in northwest Santa Rosa, his caregiver said Saturday.

Felt, 95, the former FBI official whose leaks to the Washington Post helped bring down Richard Nixon's presidency, died of congestive heart failure Thursday.

He had kept secret until 2005 his identity as "Deep Throat," the key source for reporter Bob Woodward in breaking the 1972 Watergate burglary's connection to the White House.

His longtime caregiver, Yara Tikoilakeba, 51, of Santa Rosa, met reporters Saturday along with Felt's daughter, Joan Felt, and grandson Nick Jones of Los Angeles. John O'Connor, an attorney and family friend who co-authored Felt's biography, also attended.

Joan Felt said she was "as proud as could be" of her father's crucial role in the Watergate scandal. "He was supremely devoted to service and to the truth," she said.

On a personal level, Felt was "absolutely adorable . . . an angel," his daughter said.

Tikoilakeba recounted Mark Felt's final moments.

"We were just kidding around," he said, recalling he had served Mark Felt lunch Thursday afternoon.

Felt finished eating at 12:45 p.m. in his room, a converted garage, when he said he was not feeling well, Tikoilakeba said.

Tikoilakeba, a native of Fiji, had lived around the clock with Felt, sleeping in the same room for the past three years.

Tikoilakeba said he eased the recliner back, then turned away and heard the sound of Felt gasping for air.

Felt did not respond and was not blinking as Tikoilakeba brought the recliner back upright. "I sat him up (and) heard his last breaths," the caregiver said.

Felt, who retired from the FBI in 1973, lived with his daughter, Joan Felt, in Santa Rosa since 1991.

Relatives and friends are dropping by the Felt home this weekend to pay their respects. A public memorial service will be held in January.

Tikoilakeba said he learned a lot from the man he served. "He talked the talk and walked the walk of a saint -- to the end," he said.

You can reach Staff Writer Guy Kovner at 521-5457 or

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