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Kate Spade's Family Release Statement After She's Found Dead Aged 55

Designer Kate Spade reportedly found dead from apparent suicide

Tributes to Spade poured in from celebrities, the fashion world and everyday women who admired her quintessential American style, which had a sophisticated yet playful vibe.

She was born Katherine Noel Brosnahan in Kansas City, Missouri, and graduated from St. Teresa's Academy. She climbed the ranks to senior fashion editor and head of accessories. The company later expanded to sell clothing, accessories and household items.

The brand, initially sold in several NY stores, opened its flagship in the city's Soho neighborhood in 1996.

Beyond the label's signature handbags, Spade was also known for shoes.

As CNN put it, "For many women, a Kate Spade handbag functioned as a symbol of professional achievement". Her husband and business partner Andy Spade was in the house at the time. Not only was it roomy, but the tough nylon fabric stood up to wear and tear. "Kate Spade was more than a designer".

NY police told reporters that a suicide note had been found at the scene, but did not divulge its contents.

Her former publicist Rob Shuter posted on Twitter: "Iconic fashion designer Kate Spade was found dead Tuesday morning in her NYC apartment!" In 1999, Kate and Andy Spade sold 56% of the business to Neiman Marcus for $33.6 million. Coach had announced plans in May of past year to buy the brand for $2.4 billion. Spade changed her last name to Valentine in 2016 when she launched a new fashion brand called Frances Valentine. "Kate Spade left an indelible mark on the fashion industry and my tweet was meant to pay tribute to her inspiring life and work".

The storefront of Kate Spade on Newbury Street in Boston, Massachusetts, on June 5, 2018. "She was too young to go".

Chelsea Clinton wrote that it was her "first grownup bag" and said that she got it as a gift from her grandmother. I still have it. "Holding Kate's family, friends and loved ones in my heart".

"Her creative light and bright mind will be greatly missed", Hall wrote in a statement. "She herself was the embodiment of her aesthetic, with her proto-1960s bouffant, nerd glasses and kooky grin, which masked a business mind that saw the opportunities in becoming a lifestyle brand, nearly before the term officially existed".

She said at the time: "I needed a break and I really wanted to raise my daughter [Frances]".