Kate Spade

AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews, File

Designer Kate Spade Found Hanging In Park Ave Home In Apparent Suicide

June 05, 2018 - 4:00 pm

NEW YORK (1010 WINS/AP) -- Fashion designer Kate Spade has been found dead in her Upper East Side apartment in an apparent suicide, police said.

A housekeeper found Spade in her home on Park Avenue near 77th Street around 10:20 a.m. Tuesday.

Spade, 55, left a note at the scene and was found by housekeeping at about 10:20 a.m. Her husband and business partner Andy Spade was in the house at the time. It's not clear how long she had been dead. The New York City Medical Examiner’s office will perform an autopsy.

Officials said she was found with a red scarf around her neck attached to a doorknob.

The couple's 13-year-old daughter was at school at the time and officials said a note was found at the scene telling her it was not her fault. The officials were not authorized to speak publicly and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.

Kate Spade was born Katherine Brosnahan and grew up in Kansas City, Missouri.

She was working as an accessories editor at Mademoiselle magazine when she launched her company with husband Andy in their New York apartment in 1993. She started the company based on six shapes of bags that she thought every working woman needed. It created a smash.

Her company, Kate Spade New York, has over 140 retail shops and outlet stores across the U.S. and more than 175 shops internationally.

Julia Curry, a spokeswoman for the company, said that "Kate will be dearly missed" and "our thoughts are with Andy and the entire Spade family at this time."

She walked away from the company in 2007, a year after it was acquired from the Neiman Marcus Group for $125 million by the company then known as Liz Claiborne Inc. In 2017.

Coach, now known as Tapestry, bought the Kate Spade brand last year for $2.4 billion, seeking to broaden its appeal.

Meanwhile, Spade and her husband started a new handbag company a few years ago, Frances Valentine. And she changed her name to Katherine Noel Frances Valentine Brosnahan Spade.

Her brother-in-law is actor and comedian David Spade.

Spade's family said they are devastated by her death.

The family said through a spokesman that they loved Kate dearly and will miss her terribly. They asked for privacy during “this very difficult time.”

Other celebrities also sounded off in mourning.

"Kate Spade was more than a designer," tweeted actress Lena Dunham. "She had a quirky visual language that captivated Bat Mitzvah girls and artists alike. She was also a staple of NYC who spread good will. My heart breaks for her family. Thank you, Kate, from one of the millions you made feel beautiful."

Fashion designer Kenneth Cole tweeted: "She alone didn't change the handbag world but she was an inspiring accessory. #KateSpade #RIP"

"My grandmother gave me my first Kate Spade bag when I was in college. I still have it," tweeted Chelsea Clinton. "Holding Kate's family, friends and loved ones in my heart."

"Kate Spade's tragic passing is a painful reminder that we never truly know another's pain or the burden they carry," tweeted Ivanka Trump, the president's daughter. "If you are struggling with depression and contemplating suicide, please, please seek help."

(© 2018 1010 WINS. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)