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Designer Kate Spade found dead in apparent suicide at NYC home: Officials

UPPER EAST SIDE, Manhattan — Kate Spade, a fashion designer known for her sleek handbags, was found dead her NYC apartment Tuesday in an apparent suicide, law enforcement officials said.

Andy Spade, CEO and Creative Director of Kate Spade, and designer Kate Spade attend OPEN from American Express' "Making a Name for Yourself" at Nokia Theater July 27, 2006, in New York City. (Matthew Peyton/Getty Images For American Express)

The officials say she was found dead by housekeeping staff inside her Park Avenue apartment in the Upper East Side at about 10:20 a.m. Tuesday. They say she left a note at the scene.

Her husband and business partner Andy Spade was in the house at the time. The couple's daughter was not home.

It's not clear how long Kate Spade had been dead and the medical examiner will perform an autopsy.

Spade created a line of sleek handbags in the early 1990s that 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.

A company representative did not immediately respond to phone and e-mail requests.

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 bought the brand for $2.4 billion.

Spade and her husband Andy started a new handbag company a few years ago, Frances Valentine. And she changed her name to Katherine Noel Frances Valentine Brosnahan Spade, she said in an NPR interview this year.

In addition to her husband, Spade is survived by a daughter, born in 2005.

Resources: Getting help

If you or someone you know is considering suicide, contact the U.S. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255). It is a free, 24/7 service that offers support, information, and local resources. You can also click here for additional hotlines within your state.