FASHION designer Kate Spade left a heartbreaking suicide note to her teen daughter before she was found hanged at her New York apartment, it is claimed.
Spade, 55, who built a fashion empire on her signature handbags, suffered with manic depression but refused to get help in case it damaged her brand, her sister revealed.
Getty – Contributor Kate Spade is said to have left a heartbreaking suicide note to her 13-year-old daughter Frances Beatrix, pictured together
Cops confirmed Spade took her own life after she was found hanged at her Upper East Side apartment on Tuesday morning.
The designer is reported to have told her 13-year-old daughter Frances Beatrix “not to blame herself” in a note found close to her body.
Her devastated sister Reta Saffo last night revealed Spade had been suffering with a mental illness for the last three or four years and her suicide “was not unexpected by me”.
She said family members had tried to help the mum-of-one get help but she was concerned that seeking treatment might harm the image of the “happy-go-lucky” Kate Spade brand.
AP:Associated Press Fashion designer Kate Spade was found dead in her New York apartment on Tuesday morning
Getty Images – Getty She launched Kate Spade Handbags with her husband Andy in 1993
Speaking to the Kansas City Star, Reta said: “Sometimes you simply cannot SAVE people from themselves!”
She believes her sibling, who was two years younger, may have been planning to end her life for some time.
“One of the last things she said to me was, ‘Reta, I know you hate funerals and don’t attend them, but for me would you PLEASE come to MINE, at least. Please!’ I know she perhaps had a plan, but she insisted she did not.”
Reta said Spade had seemed fixated on Robin Williams’ hanging suicide in 2014 and kept re-watching the news report over and over.
She added: “I think the plan was already in motion even as far back as then.”
Rex Features The fashion designer was found hanged at her New York apartment on Tuesday Kate Spade’s honest admission in one of her final interviews before tragic suicide
It is understood her husband of 24 years, Andy, was in another room when their housekeeper discovered her body yesterday morning.
According to US celebrity website TMZ, her suicide note read: “Bea – I have always loved you. This is not your fault. Ask Daddy!”
It comes as other media reports suggest Spade and her husband – who is the brother of actor David Spade – were having possible marital problems.
A police source told the New York Post: “It was over family problems… in her relationship.”
Paying tribute, Spade’s family said in a statement: “We are all devastated by today’s tragedy. We loved Kate dearly and will miss her terribly.
Getty – Contributor Kate and Andy Spade got married in 1994 and had daughter Frances Beatrix 13 years ago
“We would ask that our privacy be respected as we grieve during this very difficult time.”
The company Kate Spade also released a statement following the “incredibly sad” news.
It said: “Although Kate has not been affiliated with the brand for more than a decade, she and her husband and creative partner, Andy, were the founders of our beloved brand.
“Kate will be dearly missed. Our thoughts are with Andy and the entire Spade family at this time.”
AP:Associated Press Kate Spade’s sister claims her sister was a ‘manic depressive’ and she wasn’t surprised by her suicide
Earlier, NYPD Chief Detective Dermot Shea confirmed a suicide note was found at the scene.
He added: “I’m not going to get into the contents of that note. But that appears to be the sum total of what it is at this point.
“We still have detectives on the scene. It’s still a fairly fresh incident.”
As medical examiners were seen entering the apartment block where the Kansas City-born designer lived, the rich and famous paid tribute to the fashion icon.
Rex Features The famous designer launched Kate Spade Handbags with her husband Andy in 1993
Actress Lena Dunham, 32, described the mum-of-one as “more than a designer”.
She added: “She had a quirky visual language that captivated Bat Mitzvah girls and artists alike. She was also a staple of NYC who spread good will.
“My heart breaks for her family. Thank you, Kate, from one of the millions you made feel beautiful.”Chelsea Clinton, 38, tweeted: “My grandmother gave me my first Kate Spade bag when I was in college. I still have it. Holding Kate’s family, friends and loved ones in my heart.”
Ivanka Trump, 36, wrote: “Kate Spade’s tragic passing is a painful reminder that we never truly know another’s pain or the burden they carry.”
AP:Associated Press A woman walks past a Kate Spade store in Soho, New York, on Tuesday following reports the designer took her own life
Pretty Little Liars actress Lucy Hale added: “Very saddened to hear about the passing of Kate Spade. Mental illness does not discriminate and can happen to anyone.”
Journalist Guy Raz, who featured Spade on the How I Built This podcast last year, said he was “totally shocked” to hear of her death.
And model Tess Holliday tweeted: “Kate Spade & her brand have always been so kind to me the past couple years & I’m crushed to hear about her passing.”
Fashion designer Kate Spade shows off her Upper East Side apartment in New York
Reuters A medical examiner arrives at the front entrance to the Park Avenue apartment of designer Kate Spade
In a 2002 Glamour Women of the Year interview, Spade told the magazine how she wanted to be remembered.
“I hope that people remember me not just as a good businesswoman but as a great friend,” she said. “And a heck of a lot of fun.”
Spade met her husband when they were working at a men’s clothing store in Phoenix, Arizona while at university.
Together they launched Kate Spade Handbags in 1993, initially selling handbags before expanding to include clothing, jewellery, bedding, legwear and fragrances.
It became one of the biggest names in female accessories and stars including the Duchess of Cambridge, Anne Hathaway and Taylor Swift have been pictured with her handbags.
Getty – Contributor The Duchess of Cambridge attends the World Mental Health Day celebration wearing Kate Spade What was Kate Spade’s cause of death, how old was the designer and who are her husband and children?
Splash News Taylor Swift was spotted leaving her gym with a Kate Spade handbag
Getty – Contributor Pippa Middleton is seen arriving at ‘The Frick Collection’ in Manhattan with a Kate Spade accessory
There were more than 140 Kate Spade New York outlets in the US alone and more than 175 worldwide.
Despite her meteoric success, she sold her firm for around £22million in 2007 to spend more time with her daughter.
It was eventually sold to Liz Claiborne Inc for £92.6million and in May last year, Coach Inc bought it for £1.8billion.
The deal transformed Coach into a fashion powerhouse, a strategy that European counterparts including Louis Vuitton have built their businesses on.
AP:Associated Press Kate was found in her apartment at this building on 850 Park Avenue on the Upper East Side A PIONEERING DESIGNER
By Deputy fashion editor, Clemmie Fieldsend
ICONIC fashion designer Kate Spade made her brand one of the fastest growing fashion houses in the world.
Born in Kanasas City, Missouri the young Catholic girl clicked her heels and moved to fashion capital New York to begin her career.
Starting her own business alongside husband Andy in 1993, they opened their first store in 1996 beginning with handbags and later branchedinto clothing and accessories.
But it was her vision for fun yet practical fashion that made Kate Spade a household name.
In her early career she saw that no one was making designer handbags that were actually useful and took it upon herself to re-vamp functioning fashion.
The likes of Beyonce, Rihanna, Miranda Kerr and celebrities worldwide would all carry her must-have arm candy.
The brand cleverly placed themselves in the middle market, appealing to customers who wanted to bag something designer but without the hefty price tag – similarly to Michael Kores.
With handbag prices ranging from £800 to £88 the brand had a recipe for success.
Kate sold the final 49 per cent of the brand in 2007 to reportedly raise her young daughter.
But the brands success still continued to soar under her name. They expanded into stationary and glassware and even got a royal seal of approval from The Duchess of Cambridge who has worn Kate Spade several times.
With its celebrity status cemented, Spade’s designs rippled through the high street with Dune, Primark and Topshop all channelling her fun, bold style.
After being a stay at home mum she launched Frances Valentine in 2016.
The fashion industry will mourn the loss of this pioneering designer.
Spade got back into the fashion game in 2016, launching luxury footwear and accessory brand Frances Valentine.
“Why are you putting your hand back in the blender?” fellow designer Michael Kors once asked Kate, who shared that piece of advice with the Wall Street Journal.
She added: “Why did I start a new company? I was like, shoot. That might’ve been good advice but a bit too late!”
Her Upper East Side home was adorned with photos of her family, as well as bright and bold floor-to-ceiling art, according to People magazine who were invited into her luxury flat.
Rex Features Kate and Andy spade attend a Karlie Kloss and Warby Parker Collaboration launch in New York
Getty – Contributor Kate’s husband is brothers with famous actor David Spade
Getty Images – Getty Kate and Andy Spade attend an event in New York with chat show host Ellen Degeneres