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'No Warning That She Would Do This': Kate Spade's Husband Describes Shock After Designer's Death

Andy and Kate Spade in June 2014
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Andy and Kate Spade in June 2014 Angela Pham/BFAnyc.com/REX/Shutterstock

The husband of Kate Spade spoke for the first time since the fashion designer's sudden death. Andy Spade, who co-founded the Kate Spade handbag line that spawned expansions into fashion, home goods, and more, told the NY Times on Wednesday, "Kate suffered from depression and anxiety for many years. She was actively seeking help and working closely with her doctors to treat her disease, one that takes far too many lives. We were in touch with her the night before and she sounded happy. There was no indication and no warning that she would do this. It was a complete shock. And it clearly wasn’t her. There were personal demons she was battling."

Spade, 55, was found dead in her Upper East Side apartment on Tuesday morning. The medical examiner's office has determined that she died in a suicide by hanging.

Spade's sister, Reta Saffo, claimed that the influential designer was bipolar and had been fixated on suicide after Robin Williams's death. Saffo also said that family members tried without success to get Spade to go into treatment: "After numerous attempts, I finally let go. Sometimes you simply cannot SAVE people from themselves! One of the last things she said to me was, 'Reta, I know you hate funerals and don't attend them, but for me would you PLEASE come to MINE, at least. Please!' I know she perhaps had a plan, but she insisted she did not."

A family source told People that Saffo had been estranged from the family for 10 years.

Andy Spade denied reports that he had asked for a divorce as well, "We were not legally separated, and never even discussed divorce. We were best friends trying to work through our problems in the best way we knew how. We were together for 35 years. We loved each other very much and simply needed a break." The couple had sold their shares in Kate Spade over 10 years ago and had recently been working on a new handbag line, Frances Valentine.

Kate Spade allegedly left a note for her 13-year-old daughter, Frances Beatrix. Andy Spade said to the Times, "I am appalled that a private message to my daughter has been so heartlessly shared with the media," and revealed that their daughter was with him when Spade died.

Here's Andy Spade's full statement; he concluded it writing, "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."

If someone you know exhibits warning signs of suicide: do not leave the person alone; remove any firearms, alcohol, drugs or sharp objects that could be used in a suicide attempt; and call the U.S. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255) or take the person to an emergency room or seek help from a medical or mental health professional.

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