Police say she was found hanging from a red scarf Tuesday morning in her bedroom at her Park Avenue home. A housekeeper discovered her, according to a police source, and she apparently left a suicide note.
In a statement to the New York Daily News, Spade’s family said they are “devastated by today’s tragedy.”
“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 was reached by phone, but “struggled to speak” according to the Daily News. “It’s very difficult,” she said. “I can’t right now. I just can’t.”
Friend and former Executive Director of the CFDA, Fern Mallis, was also stunned by the news: “This is completely shocking and seems so out of character,” she told PEOPLE.
Mallis said her colorful designs matched Spade’s personality. “She was as adorable as her accessories were,” Mallis said. “She was always dressed fun and was always perky. She was very spirited. She was just a delight.”
Following the news of her death, many celebrities have showed their support and appreciation of the iconic businesswoman.
Lena Dunham, Reese Witherspoon, Chelsea Clinton, Mindy Kaling and many more celebrities shared memories of the designer on social media.
“My grandmother gave me my first Kate Spade bag when I was in college,” Clinton wrote. “I still have it. Holding Kate’s family, friends and loved ones in my heart.”
“My heart and prayers go out to Kate Spade and her family,” Witherspoon said. “What a wonderful, talented woman who will be dearly missed.”
Spade is best known for founding the successful fashion line Kate Spade New York in 1993 with her husband Andy Spade (brother to actor David Spade).
She and her husband both sold their ownership stake in the company in 2007 to focus on family. “I needed a break and I really wanted to raise my daughter [Frances],” Kate 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.”
The duo most recently launched a new accessories line, Frances Valentine, in 2016.
Kate is survived by her husband of 24 years and her 13-year-old daughter, Frances Beatrix.
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This article originally appeared on PEOPLE.