Tribbitt's son Jim says his father died Saturday. He was 87 and had suffered from Alzheimer's. Delaware's current governor, Democrat Jack Markell, ordered state flags lowered to half staff in Tribbitt's honor.
According to a state biography Tribbitt served a total of five terms in the Delaware General Assembly. He served as speaker of the House as well as lieutenant governor.
In 1972 he ran for governor, beating incumbent Russell W. Peterson. Tribbitt ran for re-election in 1976 but lost to Republican Pierre S. du Pont IV, a U.S. congressman and member of the wealthy du Pont family.