Fashion designer Kate Spade was found dead this morning in her home at 850 Park Avenue. She reportedly hung herself with a scarf tied to a doorknob while her husband Andy was in another room. She was found by her housekeeper. She left a note. Before we get into the details of her death and note, please know that there are people who can help if you're feeling hopeless. Call a friend. Call a family member. Call the national suicide hotline at 800-273-8255. You are important. You are needed here on earth.
Here's what we know so far about Kate Spade's death and Kate Spade's suicide note to her daughter:
1. Her final thoughts were for her daughter.
In her suicide note, Kate Spade reportedly told her daughter that is was not her fault.
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2. The note was addressed to her daughter.
The suicide note was found on a bed near her lifeless body. Sources with the police department have reported the note was addressed to her daughter and said:
"Bea - I have always loved you. This is not your fault. Ask Daddy!"
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3. Her daughter was not home at the time.
Kate's husband Andy was home at the time of her suicide and in another room. Thankfully, the couple's 13-year-old daughter Frances Beatrix Spade, was not home at the time. She was at school.
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4. Why did she kill herself?
While earlier in the day Page Sixreported a police source had told the New York Post that "police believe the suicide was 'over family problems ... in her relationship,'” Spade's sister Refa Saffo has since shared that while her suicide was tragically "not unexpected."
"I will say this was not unexpected by me. I'd flown out to Napa and NYC several times in the past 3-4 years to help her to get the treatment she needed (inpatient hospitalization). She was always a very excitable little girl and I felt all the stress/pressure of her brand (KS) may have flipped the switch where she eventually became full-on manic depressive ...
"I'd come so VERY close to getting her to go in for treatment (to the same place Catherine Zeta-Jones went for her successful bipolar treatment program). I'd spoken with them on the phone (not telling them exactly who the patient would be). They agreed to fly in and talk with her and take her with them to the treatment center.
"She was all set to go — but then chickened out by morning. I even said I (would) go with her and be a 'patient' too (she liked that idea) I said we could talk about it all — our childhood, etc. That I could help her fill in any blanks she might have ...
"That seemed to make her more comfortable, and we'd get sooo close to packing her bags, but — in the end, the 'image' of her brand (happy-go-lucky Kate Spade) was more important for her to keep up. She was definitely worried about what people would say if they found out ...
"After numerous attempts [assisted by Spade's husband and business partner, Andy Spade], I finally let go ... Sometimes you simply cannot SAVE people from themselves! 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."
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5. The housekeeper found her.
Kate's housekeeper found her with a red scarf tied to a closet doorknob in the bedroom. She was cold and unresponsive. The housekeeper called 911 and then ran out to get the building superintendent who rushed upstairs, cut the scarf from her neck and attempted CPR.
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6. Her death is officially a suicide.
The NYPD Chief of Detectives said the following at a press conference:
“At this point, there was a note left. The contents of that note, as well as the physical state of the apartment and the comments of the witness, lend to the credibility that it is an apparent suicide."
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7. The CFDA honored her.
Kate Spade was twice-honored by the Council of Fashion Designers of America. The first time was in 1996 as an emerging accessories designer to watch and the second time in 1998 as the best accessories designer of the year. The group's annual gala and awards show took place Monday. Spade did not attend. The CFDA released a statement shortly after news of her death hit the wires. CFDA heads Steven Kolb and Diane von Furstenberg said:
'The CFDA is devastated to hear the news of our friend, colleague, and CFDA member Kate Spade’s tragic passing. She was a great talent who had an immeasurable impact on American fashion and the way the world viewed American accessories. We want to honor her life and her major contribution to the fashion business and express our most sincere condolences to the family."
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8. Her daughter was her priority.
Kate Spade left her business behind when her daughter was born. Shortly after Bea was born, Kate realized her priorities had shifted. As an experiment, Kate and Andy decided to see how many times they were called on to make a decision over the course of one day to determine whether or not to stay with the company. At the end of that day, Kate and Andy realized they had been contacted 266 times to make a decision. And, even more telling, it hadn't been a particularly busy day.
Kate was in her early 40s and didn't want to consign the raising of her daughter to a series of nannies and babysitters while she was busy perusing leather dyeing options. Kate returned to the fashion world in 2016, and told the Wall Street Journal that her daughter was still her priority.
"I kind of thought taking that time off was unbelievably amazing. I thought it was, like, a gift. I really did."
Once she was back at work, she loved taking her daughter to her studio on the weekends.
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Our hearts are with Andy, Bea, and the entire Spade and Brosnahan families.
Amy Lamare is a Los Angeles based freelance writer covering entertainment, pop culture, beauty, fashion, fitness, technology, and the intersection of technology, business, and philanthropy. She is deeply devoted to her chocolate Labrador and an avid long distance runner. You can find her on Instagram and Facebook.