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Kate Spade's husband says she had mental health issues, suicide was 'a complete shock'

Andy Spade issued a statement that the family is "heartbroken" over wife Kate Spade's death, revealing she had been taking medication for depression and anxiety.
by Scott Stump / / Source: TODAY

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Kate Spade's heartbroken husband issued a statement in the wake of her death revealing the personal demons she battled behind her public success.

Andy Spade says he and the couple's daughter, Frances Beatrix, 13, are "devastated" by the loss of the renowned fashion designer, who died by apparent suicide on June 5 at age 55.

"There was no indication and no warning that she would do this,'' he said. "It was a complete shock. And it clearly wasn't her. There were personal demons she was battling.

"She was actively seeking help for depression and anxiety of the last five years, seeing a doctor on a regular basis and taking medication for both depression and anxiety. There was no substance or alcohol abuse. There were no business problems."

Spade also confirmed that he had been living separately from his wife, whom he married in 1994, for the past 10 months.

"We were not legally separated, and never even discussed divorce," Spade said. "We were best friends trying to work through our problems in the best way we knew how. We were together for 35 years. We loved each other very much and simply needed a break."

Andy Spade, who is the brother of actor David Spade, was also his wife's business partner in their fashion empire.

His statement refuted claims made by Kate's older sister, Reta Saffo, who told The Kansas City Star in an email that her suicide was "not unexpected" and that she had become "a full-on manic depressive."

She claimed Spade medicated with alcohol and refused to go to treatment because she thought it would hurt her brand.

"Sometimes you simply cannot SAVE people from themselves!'' Saffo wrote. "One of the last things she said to me was, 'Reta, I know you hate funerals and don't attend them, but for me would you PLEASE come to MINE, at least. Please!' I know she perhaps had a plan, but she insisted she did not."

A source close to the family fired back at those claims.

"The family is disgusted and saddened at this time of great sorrow, Kate's sister, who had been estranged from the entire family for more than 10 years, would choose to surface with unsubstantiated comment," the source told NBC News.

Andy Spade's statement came on the heels of tributes to Kate by David Spade, who said she was "sharp and quick on her feet" and made him "laugh so hard," and a loving remembrance by her niece, Rachel Brosnahan.

The star of Amazon's "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel" posted a video of Kate and Andy dancing together, calling her "beautifully sensitive" and "effervescent."

If you or someone you know is in crisis, call the U.S. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255, text TALK to 741741 or visit SpeakingOfSuicide.com/resources for additional resources.

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