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Designer Kate Spade Found Dead From Apparent Suicide

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American fashion designer Kate Spade was found dead Tuesday in her New York City home. Police said the cause of death appears to be suicide by hanging.

Spade was 55.

Police said a housekeeper discovered the body. Her husband and business partner, Andy Spade, was in the apartment at the time.

The police department’s chief of detectives, Dermot Shea, said evidence including the condition of the home and the presence of a note pointed to “a tragic suicide.”

It is not clear how long Spade had been dead. The medical examiner will perform an autopsy.

The couple’s 13-year-old daughter was at school. Law enforcement officials told the Associated Press that the note contained a message to the teenage girl, telling her it was not her fault. The officials spoke on the condition they not be identified.

Kate Spade and her husband, Andy, attend The Fresh Air Fund's 'Salute to American Heroes,' in New York City in 2003. (Photo: Stephen Trupp/STAR MAX)
Kate Spade and her husband, Andy, attend The Fresh Air Fund's 'Salute to American Heroes,' in New York City in 2003. (Photo: Stephen Trupp/STAR MAX)

Spade’s family released a statement through a spokesman. “We loved Kate dearly and will miss her terribly. We would ask that our privacy be respected as we grieve during this very difficult time,” he said.

Police have set up barriers around the building where she died to keep reporters and others away from the area.

Spade founded and later sold the company Kate Spade New York. It currently has more more than 315 shops around the world.

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

Kate Spade designs

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

She was working at the fashion magazine Mademoiselle when she launched her company with husband Andy in 1993. She started the company based on six shapes of bags that she thought every working woman needed. The bags became hugely popular.

“I grew up in the Midwest, where you have to have it (a fashion item) because you like it, not because you’re supposed to have it,” she told the AP in 2004.

FILE - In this May 13, 2004 file photo, designer Kate Spade poses with handbags and shoes from her next collection in New York.
FILE - In this May 13, 2004 file photo, designer Kate Spade poses with handbags and shoes from her next collection in New York.

Spade expanded into shoes and luggage. She also opened a home line, and produced several books.

]The Council of Fashion Designers of America presented honored Spade with many awards. She was named a “giant of design” by House Beautiful magazine.

Spade left the company in 2007, a year after selling it to the Neiman Marcus Group for $125 million.

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

“She alone didn’t change the handbag world,” tweeted fashion designer Kenneth Cole, “but she was an inspiring accessory.”

I’m Caty Weaver.

The Associated Press reported this story for VOA News. Caty Weaver adapted it for Learning English. Hai Do was the editor.

Words in This Story

fashion - n. the business of creating and selling clothes in new styles​

autopsy - n. an examination of a dead body to find out the cause of death​

grieve - v. to feel or show grief or sadness​

​luggage - n. the bags and suitcases that a person carries when traveling​

inspiring - adj. causing people to want to do or create something or to lead better lives​

accessory - n. something added to something else to make it more useful, attractive, or effective​

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