Fashion designer Kate Spade was found dead in her apartment Tuesday of an apparent suicide, law enforcement officials said.
The officials said housekeeping staff found her hanging inside her Park Avenue apartment at about 10:20 a.m. They said she left a note at the scene. The officials were not authorized to divulge details of an ongoing investigation and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity. The officials didn’t know what the note said.
Spade, who was 55, created a line of sleek handbags in the early 1990s that created a smash.
The company, Kate Spade New York, has over 140 retail shops and outlet stores across the U.S. and more than 175 shops internationally. Spade and her husband Andy cashed out of her name-sake business more than a decade ago. Luxury fashion brand Coach bought the company in 2017 in a $2.4-billion deal.
— kate spade new york (@katespadeny) June 5, 2018
Born Kate Brosnahan in Kansas City in 1962, she graduated with a degree in journalism from Arizona State University in 1985.
She started off her career at Mademoiselle magazine, and at that time met her future husband (who’s also the brother of actor David Spade); the pair worked together as salespeople at a men’s clothing store.
WATCH: Kate Spade’s body removed from Park Avenue apartment.
Content contains disturbing images – Discretion advised.
She left Mademoiselle in 1991, and noticing a dearth in fashionable-yet-sensible handbags, decided to strike out on her own. Kate Spade Handbags was launched in 1993, with its first store located in Manhattan’s SoHo neighbourhood. Eventually, the company began to produce other items besides handbags, including housewares, fragrances, eyeglasses, and more.
Spade’s handbags were a must-have, and she ranked among the New York designers to cement the minimalist look. She was instrumental in refocusing the ’90s New York look with her iconic “Sam” handbag — a black boxy tote in waterproof nylon that was seen both on the streets and the silver screen.
The fashion world reeled at the news of her passing, and many celebrities and Spade fans tweeted their condolences.
My grandmother gave me my first Kate Spade bag when I was in college. I still have it. Holding Kate’s family, friends and loved ones in my heart.
— Chelsea Clinton (@ChelseaClinton) June 5, 2018
Kate Spade & her brand have always been so kind to me the past couple years & I’m crushed to hear about her passing. Suicide isn’t “the easy way out” and shouldn’t be mocked. My heart goes out to her family & team today 😭💕
— Tess H🍒lliday (@Tess_Holliday) June 5, 2018
Kate Spade committing suicide is proof you can have it all, money, fame, power and still be soo depressed that believing the only way to end your pain is to kill yourself mental illness is so real. Check on your friends & always seek help.
— Shanté Mckissick✨ (@heyshantehey) June 5, 2018
Depression doesn't care about your wealth, power, success, appearance, morality, or popularity.
Dismissing depression and its effects on someone because you envy what they have is a failure to understand depression. It is relentless and cruel and unforgiving.#KateSpade
— Charlotte Clymer 🏳️🌈 (@cmclymer) June 5, 2018
Spade leaves behind her husband and the couple’s one daughter, Frances Beatrix Spade.
If you or someone you know is in crisis and needs help, resources are available. In case of an emergency, please call 911 for immediate help.
The Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention, Depression Hurts and Kids Help Phone (1-800-668-6868) all offer ways for getting help if you or someone you know is suffering from mental health issues.
— With files from The Associated Press and Marilisa Racco
© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.