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Designer Alexander McQueen found dead

British fashion designer Alexander McQueen, whose creations adorned such celebrities as Sarah Jessica Parker, Rihanna and Lady Gaga and was known for his flamboyant and sometimes outrageous styles, has been found dead in his London apartment, an apparent suicide. He was 40 years old. His company's communications director, Samantha Garrett, said that McQueen’s body was found Thursday morning, days after he posted anguished online remarks about the death of his mother.“We don’t have any information in terms of circumstances,” she told The Associated Press.

In a statement about the incident, Scotland Yard said, “We were called to an address at 10:20 a.m. this morning by the ambulance service after reports of a man found dead ... next of kin have been informed. The death is being treated as non-suspicious.”

Additional details surrounding McQueen’s death have not yet been released, but the UK Daily Mail is reporting that he hanged himself.

A master of his craft
Known for his dramatic statement pieces and impeccable tailoring, McQueen received recognition from Queen Elizabeth II in 2003, when she made him a Commander of the British Empire for his fashion leadership. "McQueen influenced a whole generation of designers. His brilliant imagination knew no bounds as he conjured up collection after collection of extraordinary designs," said Alexandra Shulman, the editor of British Vogue. "At one level he was a master of the fantastic, creating astounding fashions shows that mixed design, technology and performance, and on another he was a modern-day genius whose gothic aesthetic was adopted by women the world over."

Vogue Editor-in-Chief Anna Wintour called McQueen "one of the greatest talents of his generation."

"He brought a uniquely British sense of daring and aesthetic fearlessness to the global stage of fashion. In such a short career, Alexander McQueen's influence was astonishing — from street style, to music culture and the world's museums," she said in a statement. "His passing marks an insurmountable loss."

Mother's recent deathMcQueen's mother died Feb. 2. Some fashion experts speculated that his mood may have also been clouded by pressure to top himself again next month at his catwalk show in Paris.

McQueen sounded anguished and frustrated in recent postings on his Twitter page. The remarks also sounded slightly confused.

"i'm letting my followers know the my mother passed away yesterday if it she had not me nor would you RIP mumx," he wrote.

Shortly afterward, he added: "But life must go on!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

On Sunday, he used an obscenity to describe his "awful week" and said he had to "some how pull myself together and finish."

Four days later, he was dead.

Meteoric riseMcQueen received his training at the Central St. Martin's College of Art and Design, long recognized for its fashion-forward approach and encouragement of young designers. He worked for traditional Savile Row tailors Anderson and Sheppard and also Gieves and Hawkes before branching out into his own more theatrical designs.

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    Image: Sarah Jessica Parker with designer Alexander McQueen

    Alexander McQueen's wild style

    Look back at the outrageous fashions of the late British designer.

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    British fashion designer Alexander McQueen was known for his wild fashions. He was a fashion legend who adorned some of the biggest celebrities in the world.

    McQueen was found dead on Feb. 11, 2010 in his London home. He was 40 years old.

    Here, he acknowledges the audience after his Fall-Winter 2009-2010 ready-to-wear collection fashion show in Paris.

    Fellow designer Vivienne Westwood said she was "incredibly sorry to hear the news," according to the BBC.

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    The Alexander McQueen fashion presentation, part of Paris Fashion Week, was modeled on Mar. 9, 2010 in Paris, France.

    Inspired by old masters' paintings, Alexander McQueen's last show included rich fabrics in bold, luscious colors with ornate detailing.

    In honor of the late designer, audience members received cards that read "Each piece is unique, as was he.''

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    A model walks down the runway during the Alexander McQueen fashion presentation, part of Paris Fashion Week on Mar. 9, 2010 in Paris, France.

    The 16-piece Autumn/Winter collection was 80 percent finished at the time of McQueen's death.

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    An avant-garde creation is modeled during the Alexander McQueen fashion presentation, part of Paris Fashion Week on Mar. 9, 2010 in Paris, France.

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    The coffin of British designer Alexander McQueen, bearing pink, white and red roses, is carried out of St. Paul's Church during the funeral ceremony in London on Feb. 25, 2010. The coffin was loaded into a hearse with the word “Lee” written in white flowers.

    The funeral service was organized for close friends and family.

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    Naomi Campbell leaves Alexander McQueen's funeral at St. Paul's Church in London, on Feb. 25, 2010.

    The gathering, held roughly two weeks after the designer's death, included 100 friends and family members.

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    Supermodel Kate Moss, in 5-inch Christian Louboutin heels and a fur stole, leaves Alexander McQueen's funeral held at St. Paul's Church, in London, on Feb. 25, 2010.

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    British designer Stella McCartney leaves British designer Alexander McQueen's funeral held at St. Paul's Church.

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    British super model Kate Moss walks down the catwalk as a tribute to the late Alexander McQueen during Naomi Campbell's "Fashion for Relief Haiti" fashion show at Somerset House in London on Feb.18, 2010.

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    Model Kate Moss cries while attending Naomi Campbell's "Fashion For Relief Haiti" fashion show as an Alexander McQueen dress was auctioned off on Feb. 18, 2010 in London.

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    The Alexander McQueen store is seen on Old Bond Street in London, England. Before his death, McQueen also had boutiques in New York, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, and Milan.

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    A model presents a creation by British designer Alexander McQueen during the autumn/winter 2009 ready-to-wear collection show on March 10, 2010 in Paris.

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    Models display creations as part of McQueen's fall/winter 2010-2011 menswear collection on Jan. 18, 2010 during the Milan Men's Fashion Week. The collection, titled "An Bailitheoir Cnamh," Celtic for "The Bone Collector," was inspired by whalers and seafarers.

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    McQueen was known for his flamboyant, often outrageous fashions. These models present outfits from his ready-to-wear spring/summer 2010 fashion show on Oct. 6, 2009 in Paris.

    His sequin and animal-print covered 10-inch high heels, inspired by Charles Darwin’s “Origin of the Species,” both shocked and fascinated the fashion scene.

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    Janet Jackson attends the launch of Alexander McQueen's flagship boutique on May 13, 2008 in Los Angeles, Calif.

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    McQueen's autumn/winter 2009 ready-to-wear collection, titled "Horn of Plenty," featured models in Marilyn Manson make-up and tall, red patent platform shoes.

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    A model presents a feisty creation by Alexander McQueen during the spring/summer 2009 collections of men's ready to wear displayed at Milan fashion week on June 22, 2008.

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    Models wear props on their heads, including upturned umbrellas, woven baskets, lampshades and piles of shiny rubber, as part of McQueen's ready-to-wear autumn/winter 2009 fashion show during Paris Fashion Week on March 10, 2009.

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    A model presents a playful McQueen headpiece during the autumn/winter 2008-2009 ready-to-wear collection show in Paris.

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    McQueen's spring/summer 2009 ready-to-wear collection was inspired by Charles Darwin as well as the effects of industrialization on the planet.

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    Golden beauty -

    A model wears a glittering gold jumpsuit by Alexander McQueen during the autumn/winter 2007/2008 ready-to-wear collection show in Paris on March 2, 2007.

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    Style icon Sarah Jessica Parker and Alexander McQueen attend the Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute Benefit Gala on May 1, 2006 in New York City. McQueen's creative designs have been a favorite among celebrities.

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    Alexander McQueen acknowledges applause at the end of the presentation of his spring/summer 2006 collection in Paris on Oct. 7, 2005 . His shirt logo refers to top model Kate Moss after photos of her apparently snorting cocaine in a London music studio were published in the media.

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    A model dances during the "Black" fashion show sponsored by McQueen in London on June 3, 2004. Proceeds from the event went to Lighthouse, which supports people affected by HIV.

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    British model Naomi Campbell, designer Alexander McQueen and model Kate Moss arrive for the "Black" charity auction and fashion show in London on June 3, 2004.

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    Alexander McQueen and Isabella Blow attend the Tatler dinner at Floriana, at the Beauchamp place on March 19, 2003. It was Blow, an English magazine editor and fashion director, who discovered McQueen. She committed suicide in May 2007 after being diagnosed with ovarian cancer.

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    A model presents a flamboyant creation for Alexander McQueen on March 8, 2003 during the Autumn/Winter 2003-04 ready-to-wear collections in Paris, France.

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    Singer Bjork and McQueen are seen backstage at the "Fashion Rocks" event at the Royal Albert Hall on Oct. 15, 2003 in London.

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    'Queen's honor -

    McQueen poses with his CBE, an honor awarded by Queen Elizabeth II Buckingham Palace in London on Oct. 29, 2003.

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    Gwyneth Paltrow dons a see-through Alexander McQueen dress for the 2002 Oscars. This creation, which had a virtually see-through top, was not received well and Paltrow was named one of the worst dressed at the event.

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    A model presents a creation from Mcqueen's spring/summer collection at London Fashion Week in London in September 2000.

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    Rock star Elton John and designer Alexander McQueen arrive at the inauguration of the Louis Vuitton-Moet Hennessy Tower in New York in December 1999.

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    Warrior chic -

    A fox fur coat with a metallic helmet is shown during the presentation of Givenchy's ready-to-wear fall/winter 1998-1999 collection designed by Alexander McQueen in Paris on March 3, 1998.

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    A model with a bare torso and giant Icarus feather wings looks down from the first floor balcony of the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris. This was part of a decoration for the Givenchy's spring/summer 2001 haute couture collections designed by McQueen.

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He became chief designer at the renowned Givenchy house in 1996 and moved to Gucci as creative director in 2001.

McQueen’s runway shows — often more like performance pieces because they were so dramatic and, sometimes, bizarre — were always a highlight during the Paris ready-to-wear fashion week.

One of his collections included a show built around the concept of recycling, with models donning extravagance headwear made out of trash. His last collection, shown in October in Paris, featured extravagant and highly structured cocktail dresses.

He took risks in his work, and had a reputation for stirring controversy with shock tactics, earning him the title “l’enfant terrible” of the fashion world. But it was his talent that made him a star.

A star favoriteThe iconic designer was a favorite of fashion-forward celebrities like Sarah Jessica Parker, Sandra Bullock, Rihanna and Lady Gaga.

“I am shocked and overcome with grief upon learning about the untimely death of the quiet genius Alexander McQueen,” actress Parker said in a statement. “God speed Lee. It has been a privilege for all of us to know you. You will be indescribably missed.”

McQueen was one of the youngest designers to become British Designer of the Year, a title that he won four times between 1996 and 2003. He was also named the International Designer of the Year in 2003 at the Council of Fashion Designer Awards.By 2007, McQueen had his own boutiques in New York, London, Los Angeles, Milan and Las Vegas.

His work was widely praised in New York City on Thursday by fashion writers leaving the BCBG show, the opener at New York Fashion Week at Bryant Park.

Hal Rubenstein, a fashion director for InStyle magazine, said McQueen started out tough and angry — in his work and attitude — but softened over time as he felt more appreciated by the industry. McQueen, he said, was a master of integration of technology into fashion.

"He changed the way so many of us see shows," Rubenstein said.

Cindy Weber Cleary, another of the magazine's fashion directors, said of McQueen: "He was a huge talent, a master of tailoring and always willing to push the envelope. He was forward thinking."

‘Shocking’ death
Cindi Leive, editor in chief of Glamour magazine, said: "Everyone in this tent is shocked ... He was obviously incredibly talented and had a creative energy. There was a real sense of energy in everything he did."

Leive said McQueen was "always extreme" in his collections.

McQueen died days before London Fashion Week, although he was not scheduled to show in the British capital. His death came just three years after the death of Isabella Blow, the woman who discovered him.

Blow, an English magazine editor and fashion director, bought McQueen’s entire line for his graduate show. She committed suicide in May 2007 after being diagnosed with ovarian cancer.

This story contains information from The Associated Press.

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