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Autopsy Confirms Kate Spade's Cause of Death

Designer committed suicide by hanging herself with a scarf
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 7, 2018 11:25 AM CDT
Autopsy Confirms Kate Spade's Cause of Death
This 2004 photo shows designer Kate Spade during an interview in New York.   (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)

(Newser) – All signs pointed to suicide in the death of fashion icon Kate Spade, and the New York City medical examiner's office confirmed that on Thursday, reports the Daily News. The office ruled that the 55-year-old took her own life by hanging inside her apartment on Park Avenue. The confirmation comes after husband Andy Spade revealed that his wife had been battling depression and anxiety for years, though Andy Spade said that he'd spoken to her the night before her death and that she had "sounded happy." Andy Spade emerged in public Thursday wearing a cartoon mouse mask in an apparent attempt to avoid being photographed, notes the New York Post.

  • Her father: Spade's dad, Frank Brosnahan, tells the Kansas City Star that he spoke to his daughter Monday evening, the night before her suicide, and that "she was happy planning a trip to California to look at colleges" for her 13-year-old daughter. He knew of his daughter's problems, adding, "She'd been taking some pills, which I advised her not to take."
  • His wish: Brosnahan also said his daughter would be pleased if her death prompted a serious discussion of depression. "One thing we feel is that any talk that they do that helps somebody else, Katy would have liked that," he said. "If that helped anybody avoid anything—fine, she'd be delighted."

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  • Suicide rates rising: A new CDC report says suicide rates rose in 49 states between 1999 and 2016, reports the Washington Post. North Dakota, for example, saw its rate jump more than 57%. Perhaps surprisingly, Nevada was the only state to register a decline, though the Post notes that its rate is still higher than the national average. "This is a national problem," says deputy CDC director Anne Schuchat.
  • Hitting home: The suicide has triggered an outpouring of reaction from those who've lost loved ones to suicide or have contemplated it themselves, and the New York Times rounds up comments from readers. "Depression comes from different places, but it's all the same darkness," reads one.
  • The danger: Exposure to extensive coverage of the death can lead to what mental health experts call "suicide contagion," reports USA Today, The real danger appears to be coverage that focuses on salacious details of how the death took place. The newspaper cites a spike in suicides after the death of Robin Williams.
  • That first bag: An appreciation at Quartz focuses on the "Sam," Spade's first bag. See it here. The bag was actually one of six bags initially launched by Spade's fledgling company, but the simple rectangle "called Sam was the cornerstone," writes Marc Bain. He argues that it sums up her design legacy.
(Spade's sister says she wasn't surprised at the suicide, given her famous sibling's mental health troubles.)

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