The designer found her way onto the small screen in 2002, when she played herself in an episode of Just Shoot Me! The sitcom, which centered around a fictional fashion magazine called Blush, starred her brother-in-law, David Spade. Spade made a brief appearance in the episode before storming out of the office.
A few years later, in 2006, she returned to television as a guest judge on Project Runway. Spade's appearance was on the show's third season. Following her suicide on Tuesday, the episode, titled "Wall to Wall Fashion," began circulating online.
Spade was found dead by her housekeeper at 10:20 a.m. Tuesday morning. According to a report by CBS News, she hung herself using a red scarf tied to her bedroom door. Police confirmed that the 55-year-old left a suicide note behind, though they declined to reveal the details of the letter.
Spade's husband was reportedly in their Park Avenue home in New York City when her body was found, but he was unaware of her passing. Law enforcement officials are still unsure of how long she had been dead before she was found, but a medical examiner is going to perform a full autopsy.
Spade and her husband launched the Kate Spade New York fashion brand in 1993. It began with a now iconic line of handbags, which took the world by storm and launched them to an unexpectedly fast road to success.
After that, they spent more than a decade building the company into an international powerhouse. They had more than 140 retail locations in the U.S. at their height, and 175 international stores.
Just over 10 years ago, the Spades sold their stake in the massive company. However, the brand still paid homage to Spade in a statement posted on Twitter on Tuesday morning.
"Kate Spade, the visionary founder of our brand, has passed," it read. "Our thoughts are with her family at this incredibly heartbreaking time. We honor all the beauty she brought into this world."
If you or someone you know needs help, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).