Fashion designer Kate Spade has died following an apparent suicide, according to TMZ.
“Law enforcement sources confirm she was found 10:20 AM ET, and had hanged herself in her Park Avenue home. She was pronounced dead on the scene,” TMZ reported on Tuesday, June 5.
According to Page Six, the 55-year-old fashion icon was found by a housekeeper early Tuesday after using a scarf to hang herself on a doorknob inside her Upper East Side apartment. Spade reportedly left a suicide note, according to sources.
Kate Spade is best known for her handbag and clothing line, which she started back in 1993. She is also the sister-in-law of actor David Spade and the aunt of actress Rachel Brosnahan, who stars in Amazon’s hit series The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.
Kate met her future husband Andy Spade, at Arizona State University when they worked together at a clothing store. After working at Mademoiselle magazine, Kate formed the company Kate Spade New York in the early 1990s with her husband. According to CBS New York, Kate Spade New York has over 140 retail shops across the country and 175 internationally.
In 2005, Kate took some an extended period of time off from work to raise her newborn daughter, In 2016 she launched a new fashion brand called Frances Valentine named after her daughter, Frances Beatrix Spade, who is now 13 years old. Last year, Coach bought the Kate Spade company in a $2.4 billion deal.
Reaction to Kate Spade’s sudden death was swift. Several stars, including singer Josh Groban and former first daughter Chelsea Clinton, took to social media to remember the fashion maven. Actress Alyssa Milano, who was in the middle of an interview on MSNBC, became upset when the news about the designer’s suicide broke and revealed she wearing Kate Spade during the interview.
Earlier this year, Kate Spade and her husband Andy talked to with NPR’s Guy Raz for an episode of “How I Built This.” Kate told NPR the story of how the couple built and launched the Kate Spade handbag line from scratch after she worked as a fashion editor at Mademoiselle:
“It’s funny. You know, Andy and I were talking one night. And I just said — I was looking ahead and I saw the fashion directors. That would be your next jump from being senior fashion editor. And I thought, I don’t really see myself wanting that job. So Andy and I were out, honestly, at a Mexican restaurant. and he just said, ‘What about handbags?’ And I said, ‘Honey, you just don’t start a handbag company. ‘ And he said, ‘Why not? How hard can it be?’ I thought, OK, really? He regrets those words.”
This story is developing.
If you or someone you know is in crisis, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741741. For readers outside the U.S., visit Suicide.org or Befrienders Worldwide for international resources you can use to find help.