"Missing Katy B today and every day." the 30-year-old star of the Amazon Prime hit show The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, wrote on Instagram Saturday, posting a photo of Spade wearing a shiny ball gown.
On June 5, 2018, Kate died by suicide at age 55 at home in Manhattan, N.Y., leaving behind a note for her then 13-year-old daughter Frances. “We are all devastated by today’s tragedy,” Kate's family said in a statement at the time. “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.” According to Andy, Kate's husband of 24 years, the couple had been separated (although not legally) for 10 months before her death, and they had not planned to divorce.
“Kate suffered from depression and anxiety for many years," Andy said in a statement. "She was actively seeking help and working closely with her doctors to treat her disease, one that takes far too many lives. We were in touch with her the night before and she sounded happy. There was no indication and no warning that she would do this. It was a complete shock. And it clearly wasn’t her. There were personal demons she was battling." The designer was buried in Kansas City, Mo., where many fans attended carrying Kate Spade bags.
In 2018, celebrities reacted to Kate's death on social media, with Reese Witherspoon calling her "a wonderful, talented woman who will be dearly missed.” While Chelsea Clinton recalled receiving her first Kate Spade bag from grandmother while attending college. "I still have it," she tweeted. "Holding Kate’s family, friends and loved ones in my heart."
Kate's family has since honored her legacy — in 2018, brother-in-law David Spade donated $100,000 to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), telling People, “More people suffer from mental health issues than we may realize but no one should ever feel ashamed to reach out for support." And in 2019, the actor reflected on his "funny" family member in an interview with the New York Times, saying of her suicide, “I feel like Katy wouldn’t have done it, five minutes later. But these things happen and there’s no going back.” Kate Spade New York also donated $1M to mental health causes and Francis Valentine, the apparel company named after Kate and Andy's daughter, relaunched the nylon handbag that rocketed the designer to fame, with 20 percent of the proceeds donated to the Boys & Girls Clubs of America.
On Saturday, the Kate Spade brand praised its founder on Instagram: "Kate Spade brought so much joy into the world and we are committed to carrying on her legacy."
According to the World Health Organization, more than 264 million people around the world suffer from depression, which affects women more than men. Per the Mayo Clinic, the mental health condition causes "a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest" that can be treated with medication or therapy. Severe forms of depression can sometimes lead to suicide.
Kate's death cast light on the mental health crisis in the fashion industry and efforts to improve conditions, while highlighting the idea that money and success don't necessarily make people happy. And over the past few years, celebrities like Naomi Osaka and Prince Harry have been speaking out about mental health, to normalize stigmatized topics.
If you or someone you know are experiencing suicidal thoughts, call 911, or call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255 or text HOME to the Crisis Text Line at 741741.
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