kate spade
Designer Kate Spade pictured at the AOL Build Series at Build Studio on April 28, 2017 in New York City. Photo: Getty Images

Designer Kate Spade was found dead in her Manhattan apartment on Tuesday, NYPD confirmed. 

Spade, 55, died by an apparent suicide, sources said. Officials told the Associated Press that housekeeping staff found Spade inside her Park Avenue apartment unresponsive around 10:20 a.m. Tuesday. She reportedly hanged herself. 

Spade reportedly left a note, but officials did not know what the note said, according to the AP. Officials also said that they are not authorized to divulge details as the investigation is ongoing. The medical examiner will officially determine the cause of death, NYPD said. 

Spade was a fashion designer and businesswoman best known for her line of handbags under the company name Kate Spade New York.

 

Spade was born Katherine Brosnahan in Kansas City, Mo. December 24, 1962. She was the accessories editor at the now-closed Mademoiselle magazine before launching her namesake company in 1993 with Andy Spade, brother of actor David Spade, whom she married in 1994.

Kate Spade New York, which now has has more than 140 retail shops across the United States and more than 175 internationally, initially focused on handbags. Frustrated with the accessory, Spade wanted “a functional bag that was sophisticated and had some style,” she told the New York Times in 1999. 

Kate Spade New York eventually expanded to clothing, jewelry, shoes, stationary, bedding and fragrances. The brand was known for its bright colors and cheerful aesthetic. Spade and her husband appeared on the NPR podcast "How I Built This with Guy Raz" in Feb. 2017 to detail the rise of their iconic brand. 

Spade sold her brand in 2003. Tapestry Inc, the handbag company formerly known as Coach, bought Kate Spade New York in May 2017. In 2016, Spade and her husband together launched a new company called Frances Valentine featuring handbags, shoes and accessories designed by Spade. 

A spokeswoman for Kate Spade New York told the New York Times in a statement that while “Kate has not been affiliated with the brand for more than a decade, she and her husband and creative partner, Andy, were the founders of our beloved brand. Kate will be dearly missed. Our thoughts are with Andy and the entire Spade family at this time.”

If you are having suicidal thoughts, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline provides 24/7, free and confidential support at 1-800-273-8255 (TALK) or visit suicidepreventionlifeline.org

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