scorecardKate Spade has died in an apparent suicide at 55. Here's the story behind the rise of her handbag empire.
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Kate Spade has died in an apparent suicide at 55. Here's the story behind the rise of her handbag empire.

Kate Spade has died in an apparent suicide at 55. Here's the story behind the rise of her handbag empire.
Retail1 min read
Kate Spade has died at 55.    Bebeto Matthews/AP Images

  • Kate Spade was found dead in an apparent suicide in her apartment in New York on Tuesday, according to multiple reports. She was 55.
  • She leaves behind her husband, Andy, and a 13-year-old daughter, Frances Beatrix Spade.
  • Kate Spade launched her namesake business in 1993 and worked with her husband Andy, to grow it into a million-dollar business before it was sold to Neiman Marcus in 2006.

Famed handbag designer Kate Spade was found dead in an apparent suicide on Tuesday morning in her Upper East Side apartment, the Associated Press reported, citing law-enforcement officials. She was 55.

Spade leaves behind husband Andy Spade and a 13-year old daughter, Frances Beatrix Spade.

Kate Spade launched her namesake brand in 1993, a year before she married her husband. Over the following years, the couple ran the business together out of their apartment in Tribeca, transforming it into a $27 million business by 1998.

"This is exhausting. We can't manage all this," Andy Spade told CNN Money in 2003, recalling the early years of the brand. "We talked about paying off all our debt and closing the business down. But I had to believe in it. I couldn't blink. If I blinked, she'd fall. I had to keep her hopes up. We got to a point where we couldn't do it alone."

While the couple eventually went on to sell the entire business to Neiman Marcus in 2006, their love of handbags didn't end there. Years later, after the birth of their daughter, they made a second foray into fashion, launching Frances Valentine, a handbag and shoe company, in 2015. Kate also changed her name to Kate Valentine.

The Spade family released a statement to the press on Tuesday: "We are all devastated by today's tragedy. 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."

Find out more about Kate Spade's career and the history of the brand, below:

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