'Heartbroken' father of designer Kate Spade dies at age 89

The father of fashion designer Kate Spade has died just over two weeks after the suicide of his daughter, the family said on Thursday (June 21).

Earl F. Brosnahan Jr., 89, had been in failing health and he was also "heartbroken over the recent death of his beloved daughter," the Brosnahan family said in a statement.

Brosnahan, known to his family and friends as Frank, died on Wednesday (June 20) night at his home in Kansas City, Missouri. His family did not specify the cause of death.

Kate Spade, 55, one of his six children, was found in her New York City apartment on June 5.

Spade's husband Andy, with whom she built an accessories empire on the popularity of her colourful handbags, said after her death that his wife had suffered from depression and anxiety for more than 15 years but there had been no indication that she would take her own life.

Brosnahan worked in his family's construction business. He is survived by his wife Sandy, five children and eight grandchildren.

Fashion designer Kate Spade, 55, found dead in New York apartment

  • Kate Spade, the designer who built a fashion empire on the popularity of her signature handbags before selling the brand, was found dead in her New York City apartment on Tuesday morning in an apparent suicide, police said.
  • Spade, 55, hanged herself and was found by her housekeeper at her home on Park Avenue on Manhattan's Upper East Side, the New York Daily News reported, citing unnamed police officials.
  • Born Katherine Noel Brosnahan in Kansas City, Missouri, Spade was a former accessories editor at the now-closed Mademoiselle magazine before she and Andy Spade launched their namesake design company, Kate Spade New York, in 1993. The couple married the following year.
  • They began by selling handbags before expanding to include clothing, jewelry, bedding, legwear and fragrances.
  • The brand grew into a fashion empire, known for accessories that offered affordable luxury to younger working women. Her brightly coloured, clean-lined style offered a spunky take on fashion at time when luxury handbags were out of reach to most consumers.
  • Kate Spade New York released a statement calling the news "incredibly sad."
  • "Although Kate has not been affiliated with the brand for more than a decade, she and her husband and creative partner, Andy, were the founders of our beloved brand," the statement said. "Kate will be dearly missed."
  • The New York City chief medical examiner's office said the cause of Spade's death was under investigation.
  • Kate Spade with Michael Kors
  • Spade told National Public Radio (NPR) last year that she first discussed starting a handbag company with Andy Spade while they ate at a Mexican restaurant in 1991.
  • "I said, 'Honey, you don't just start a handbag company,'" she told NPR, "and he said, 'Why not, how hard can it be?'"
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