By Alexandra Whittaker
Jun 05, 2018 @ 12:30 pm

Designer Kate Valentine, formerly known as Kate Spade, has died of a reported suicide. She was 55 years old.

NYPD confirmed to InStyle that she was found unresponsive in her Manhattan apartment on Tuesday morning. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

According to the Associated Press, Spade was found hanging in her apartment by housekeeping staff on Tuesday. A note was found, but its contents were not made known.

Spade was an American businesswoman who is the former owner of her namesake brand, Kate Spade New York. She sold the last shares of the company back in 2007 to what was then Liz Claiborne, and launched a new brand called Frances Valentine in 2016. She also formally changed her name to Kate Valentine in 2016.

Born Kate Brosnahan, Spade grew up Kansas City, Missouri. She graduated with a degree in journalism from Arizona State University, and later went on to work in publishing as an accessories editor at Mademoiselle magazine in the late '80s. She left the magazine in 1991, and launched her namesake brand in 1993 with her then-boyfriend, Andy Spade. The couple married in 1994.

She is survived by one daughter and her husband Andy, brother of actor David Spade. Her family released a statement to the New York Daily News Tuesday about her passing.

“We are all devastated by today’s tragedy,” her family said. “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.”

David Spade took to Twitter to share a photo of his late sister-in-law along with a heartbreaking message. "Katy at my book signing. I love this pic of her. So pretty. I dont think everyone knew how fucking funny she was... Its a rough world out there people. Try to hang on." 

Sam Reed contributed to this report.

If you or anyone you know needs help, reach out to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK or suicidepreventionlifeline.org.