Kate Spade Dead at 55 From Apparent Suicide by Hanging

Kate Spade, a famous fashion designer, and handbag maven was found dead Tuesday morning in her New York apartment, according to a report from Entertainment Tonight. She was 55 years old.

(Photo: Evan Agostini / Staff, Getty)

Spade had reportedly hanged herself in her Park Avenue home, law enforcement sources tell the news outlet. She was reportedly hanging from a scarf on her bedroom door. She was pronounced dead on the scene when she was found at 10:26 a.m.

The designer left a note before her death, CBS New York reports, although authorities have not given any details to what it said. The news outlet reports that her housekeeper found her hanging from a red scarf tied to a doorknob, according to The New York Times.

She is survived by her husband Andy, who is the brother of actor David Spade, and their 13-year-old daughter Frances. Kate Spade was also the aunt of Rachel Brosnahan, the star of Amazon's The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.

Andy Spade was reportedly at the scene of Kate Spade's death. A police spokesperon told the Times that their daughter's whereabouts were unknown.

The Spades sold Kate Spade New York to Neiman Marcus in 1999, which later sold it to Liz Claiborne, Inc. in 2006. Although Kate Spade was the face of the brand, in 2007 the Spades left the company and Kate took time away from work to raise her daughter.

Born Katherine Brosnahan in Kansas City in 1962, Spade got her start in the '80s with women's magazine Mademoiselle in Manhattan. She met Andy Spade, the brother of actor David Spade, in college at Arizona State University, and together they launched Kate Spade New York in 1993, eventually blooming into the full-scale clothing and jewelry line it is today. The two married in 1994.

In 2016, Spade inserted herself back into the fashion world when she launched a new brand called Frances Valentine, named after her daughter. She was so committed to the project that she told interviews she had changed her surname from Spade to Valentine.

Just last year, Coach bought the Kate Spade company for $2.4 billion.

Spade's contribution to the fashion world was undeniable, and she was honored twice by the Council of Fashion Designers of America — once in 1996 as an emerging accessories designer to watch, and again in 1998 as the best accessories designer of the year.


Spade did not attend the group's annual gala and awards show on Monday in Brooklyn.

If you or someone you know needs help, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).