The father of fashion designer Kate Spade died on the eve of her funeral, according to a statement released by her family shortly before her service began Thursday in her hometown of Kansas City, Mo.
The family said 89-year-old Earl Brosnahan Jr. had been in ill health before dying Wednesday night at his home. The statement said he was “heartbroken over the recent death of his beloved daughter.”
Kate Spade was found dead by suicide in her New York City home on June 5. She was 55 and had a 13-year-old daughter.
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Hundreds of mourners flocked to a Kansas City church shortly before her funeral, many carrying her iconic purses.
A high school classmate attending the service said Spade was “incredibly kind” and had a memorable laugh. Spade admirers, including Olivia Lott, were part of the crowds of people hovering under large, black umbrellas outside the church, many of them wearing Spade-designed accessories.
I just feel like her vocation was to fill the world with beautiful things.– Olivia Lott
“I just feel like her vocation was to fill the world with beautiful things,” Lott said, echoing sentiments expressed earlier this month by friends and fans who described her as vibrant and colourful, like the designs that made her famous.
Spade was working as an accessories editor at Mademoiselle magazine when she launched her company with her husband, Andy Spade, in 1993.
Coach, now known as Tapestry, bought the Kate Spade brand last year for $2.4 billion. Kate and Andy Spade recently had started a new handbag company, Frances Valentine.
Andy Spade said earlier this month that his wife had long suffered from depression and anxiety, but that she had been seeing a doctor regularly and was taking medication.
He said he and his wife had been living separately in the 10 months before her death but saw each other or spoke every day. He said they were not legally separated and never discussed divorce.
Andy Spade attended the service, along with his brother, actor-comedian David Spade, who helped other relatives enter the church under umbrellas. A funeral official followed the family carrying a large white urn as the congregation sang The First Noel, a nod to Kate Spade’s birthday, on Christmas Eve, and her middle name, Noel.
In lieu of flowers, the family has asked for donations to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals or a Kansas City animal shelter.