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Designer Kate Spade found dead in apartment

Bebeto Matthews, Associated Press file In this May 13, 2004 file photo, designer Kate Spade poses with handbags and shoes from her next collection in New York. Law enforcement officials say Tuesday, June 5, 2018, that New York fashion designer Kate Spade has been found dead in her apartment in an apparent suicide.

NEW YORK — New York fashion designer Kate Spade was found dead in her Park Avenue apartment Tuesday morning in an apparent suicide, law enforcement officials said.

The 55-year-old left a note at the scene and was found by housekeeping at about 10:20 a.m. It’s not clear how long she had been dead. The medical examiner will perform an autopsy.

Spade created a line of sleek handbags in the early 1990s that created a smash. Her company, Kate Spade New York, has over 140 retail shops and outlet stores across the U.S. and more than 175 shops internationally.

A company representative did not immediately respond to phone and e-mail requests.

She walked away from the company in 2007, a year after it was acquired from the Neiman Marcus Group for $125 million by the company then known as Liz Claiborne Inc. In 2017, Coach bought the brand for $2.4 billion.

Spade and her husband Andy started a new handbag company a few years ago, Frances Valentine. And she changed her name to Katherine Noel Frances Valentine Brosnahan Spade, she said in an NPR interview this year.

In addition to her husband, Spade is survived by a daughter, born in 2005.

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