Kate Spade's 'heartbroken' father dies a day before her funeral

Tom Barnes

The father of the late fashion designer Kate Spade died “heartbroken” on the eve of her funeral, her family has said.

In a statement, the family said Earl Brosnahan Jr died on Wednesday evening at his home in Kansas City, Missouri.

The 89-year-old, who was said to be in failing health, was “heartbroken over the recent death of his beloved daughter,” his family added.

Mr Brosnahan’s death was announced as his daughter’s funeral began on Thursday afternoon at a church in Kansas City, her hometown.

A high school classmate attending the service said Ms Spade was “incredibly kind” and had a memorable laugh.

Admirers of the designer also formed part of the crowd, many of whom were wearing accessories designed by Ms Spade.

The 55-year-old mother was found at her home in New York City on 5 June after taking her own life.

Her husband and business partner, Andy Spade, said she suffered from depression and anxiety for years but had been regularly seeing a doctor and taking medication.

Ms Spade was working as an accessories editor at Mademoiselle magazine when she launched her handbag company with her husband in 1993.

She went on to win multiple awards from the Council of Fashion Designers of America, and was named a “giant of design” by House Beautiful magazine.

She walked away from her company in 2007, a year after it was acquired from the Neiman Marcus Group for $125m by the company then known as Liz Claiborne Inc.

Coach, now known as Tapestry, bought the Kate Spade brand last year for $2.4bn (£1.8bn).

The couple had recently started a new handbag company, Frances Valentine.

Mr Spade 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.

On Wednesday, Kate Spade New York announced plans to donate $1m (£750,000) to support suicide prevention and mental health awareness causes in tribute to the company's late founder.

Additional reporting by agencies