The New York City medical examiner's office has confirmed designer Kate Spade's cause of death as a suicide, Us Weekly reports. The fashion icon was found in her Park Avenue apartment Tuesday morning and was pronounced dead at the scene.
In a statement shared on Wednesday with the New York Times, Spade's business partner and husband Andy Spade confirmed his wife's long battle with depression and anxiety, but characterized the suicide as a surprise. He contradicted earlier claims that Spade had been self-medicating with alcohol, that she left a note behind for her daughter, and that the motivation for the suicide was the couple's pending divorce.
"She was actively seeking help for depression and anxiety over the last five years, seeing a doctor on a regular basis and taking medication for both depression and anxiety. There was no substance or alcohol abuse. There were no business problems. We loved creating our businesses together," he wrote. "We were co-parenting our beautiful daughter. I have yet to see any note left behind and am appalled that a private message to my daughter has been so heartlessly shared with the media."
Spade is survived by her husband and 13-year-old daughter Frances Valentine, who Andy writes is his main priority in the wake of his wife's death. "Our daughter was our priority. We were not legally separated, and never even discussed divorce," he wrote. "My main concern is Bea and protecting her privacy as she deals with the unimaginable grief of losing her mother. Kate loved Bea so very much."
With the help of Andy, Spade launched her iconic handbag line in 1993. The brand later expanded into clothing and jewelry, becoming a household name before Spade sold the company in 2007. Kate Spade New York continues to operate today with more than a hundred stores worldwide.
The late designer has been mourned by family, friends, and fans, many of whom characterized her as a brilliant, funny, and inspiring person. "I dont think everyone knew how fucking funny she was,” her brother-in-law David Spade shared in a tweet. “Its a rough world out there people. Try to hang on.”