Designer Kate Spade was found dead Tuesday in her New York City apartment of an apparent suicide, PEOPLE confirms.
Police say she was found hanging from a red scarf Tuesday morning in her bedroom at her Park Avenue home in Manhattan.
A housekeeper discovered her, according to a police source, and she apparently left a suicide note, though its contents are not known at this time.
“We are all devastated by today’s tragedy,” her family said in a statement via the New York Daily News. “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.”
Spade’s sister Eve Brosnahan told the Daily News, “It’s very difficult.”
Kate Spade, née Katherine Noel Brosnahan, was the designer behind her successful namesake label, Kate Spade New York.
Founded in 1993 with her husband, Andy Spade, the brother of actor David Spade, the line began by designing its famously colorful handbags before expanding into other accessories and clothing, ultimately turning into a billion-dollar brand. Tapestry, Inc. bought Kate Spade in July 2017 for $2.4 billion.
After selling her ownership stake in her company in 2006, Spade and her husband took time away from design. “I needed a break and I really wanted to raise my daughter [Frances],” she told PEOPLE in 2016. “People asked me, ‘Don’t you miss it?’ I really didn’t. I mean, I loved what I was doing, but I didn’t miss it as much as I thought I might.”
But by 2016 she was ready to launch a brand new accessories brand, Frances Valentine. She legally changed her name to Kate Valentine Spade to match her new label. “I thought it was important to distinguish who I am now,” she said. “I’m the same person, but there’s a difference.”
Throughout her career as an accessories designer, she was recognized for her achievements by the Council of Fashion Designers of America with the “America’s New Fashion Talent in Accessories” in 1996 and again in 1998, winning the CFDA Award for “Best Accessory Designer of the Year.”
She’s survived by Andy, her husband of 24 years, and their 13-year-old daughter, Frances.
In 2016 Spade sat down with PEOPLE for an intimate photoshoot at the home she shared with her husband and daughter, and shared the advice she wished she had taken at a younger age.
“Don’t rest on your laurels. The end result isn’t as important as the effort that goes into it. Jump all the way in. Don’t be afraid. And don’t worry so much,” she said.
“My dad always says ‘Just float.’ He’s very zen,” she said. “Not every little pebble is a boulder. And it’s kind of how I approached [my new brand]. I feel a little less nervous. I should be more nervous, but I’m not going to take it so crazily hopefully.”