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Family Members Respond to Kate Spade’s Death

Family members of Kate Spade are beginning to respond to the 55-year-old designer’s death, in which she was found unresponsive in her Manhattan home on Tuesday morning.

“We are all devastated by today’s tragedy,” her family said in a statement to the New York Daily News. “We loved Kate dearly and will miss her terribly.”

Spade’s cause of death has been reported as suicide, after a note was found by police addressed to her 13-year-old daughter, Frances Beatrix. The alleged contents of letter, released by TMZ, ensures Frances that she played no role in Spade’s decision to end her life. “Bea – I have always loved you. This is not your fault,” the note reads. Instead, she tells her daughter to, “Ask daddy!”

TMZ claimed that Spade and her husband of 24 years, Andy Spade, had separated in the months leading up to her death and police suspect that the disintegration of the relationship between Spade and her husband could have played a part in her subsequent actions.

Besides the above statement, others in Spade’s family have spoken out since the news broke–in particular, Reta Saffo, the designer’s older sister. Saffo’s views are diametrically opposed to the shock expressed by many others. In an email exchange with The Kansas City Star she says that the cause of death was “not unexpected by me” and painted a picture of years of struggle with mental illness.

Saffo explained that she had often tried to help her younger sister, flying out to meet her in attempts to convince her to seek treatment. “I even said I (would) go with her and be a ‘patient’ too (she liked that idea),” she wrote.

Saffo blames the “stress and pressure” of the booming Kate Spade empire, saying it affected her sister’s mental health. She also claims it is part of the reason why Spade refused to get help, explaining that her sister expressed concern about how hospitalization might harm the image of the happy-go-lucky Kate Spade brand.

However, Saffo’s statements to the press have garnered their own critical response. A source close to Spade’s family reached out to People to condemn the emails. “The family is disgusted and saddened that at this time of great sorrow, Kate’s sister, who has been estranged from the entire family for more than 10 years, would choose to surface with unsubstantiated comments.”

Actor and comedian, David Spade, also responded to the tragic news, sharing photos of his sister-in-law over social media in the days after her death.

In one post shared via Instagram he says, “Fuzzy picture but i love it. Kate and I during Christmas family photos. We had so much fun that day. She was so sharp and quick on her feet. She could make me laugh so hard. I still cant believe it. Its a rough world out there people, try to hang on.”

If you or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts, follow this link for help on how to find a crisis centre near you.