Alexander McQueen dead at 40

London born fashion designer Alexander McQueen has been found dead of an apparent suicide, a source at the designer’s office has confirmed.

McQueen rose to fame in the late 90s, and was controversially succeeded John Galliano as head designer of Givenchy in 1996. McQueen remained at Givenchy until 2001, and later joined forces with Gucci. McQueen’s close friend Isabella Blow also committed suicide in 2007, and the designer is said to have been “distraught” over her death.

McQueen was so distraught by Isabella’s death that he dedicated his spring summer 2008 show at Paris fashion week to his late friend.

The invites to the show were poster-size illustrations Richard Gray. It depicts a triumphant Blow, in a McQueen dress and a Philip Treacy headdress, in a horse-drawn carriage ascending to heaven.

McQueen’s death comes just days before the start of London Fashion Week, and just a few weeks ahead of the shows in Paris. McQueen’s newest collection was set to be unveiled in Paris on March 9th.

Update: TMZ is reporting McQueen was found hanged in his home and that the death is not being treated as suspicious.