NEW YORK (CBS) - The sister of fashion designer Kate Spade says she may have taken her own life because of a struggle with mental illness.
Spade was found dead yesterday in her New York apartment.
Her sister said in an e-mail to CBS that she believed Spade suffered from bipolar disorder.
Police say a housekeeper found Kate Spade hanging from a red scarf tied to a doorknob in her bedroom. Her husband Andy was home at the time.
The designer left a suicide note addressed to her 13-year-old daughter, telling her it was not her fault.
"The contents of that note, as well as the physical state of the apartment and the comments of the witness, lend to the credibility that it is an apparent suicide," says NYPD Chief of Detectives Dermot Shea.
Her family said in a statement, "we are all devastated..." and ...We loved Kate dearly and will miss her terribly."
Spade's older sister, Reta Saffo, suspects the designer may have suffered from bipolar disorder Saffo tells CBS This Morning she "...Tried numerous times to get her help."
"I think women do want something that's interesting," said Spade in July of 2000.
The 55-year-old became a fashion industry darling in the 1990s with a simple but whimsical style.
"Some color, some texture, some prints. I don't know. I think something a little more interesting. But also elegant," said Spade.
She and her husband Andy built a fashion empire around her signature handbags...
Spade stepped away from the limelight after selling her company in 2007… but she recently mounted a comeback.
"I, personally -- I don't know about Andy -- took off a good 9 years raising my daughter, and absolutely adored every moment of it," said Spade.
Police say she may have taken her own life because of money and marital problems.
Many of Spade's friends and famous clientele are sending tributes using social media. Her brother-in-law, actor David Spade, tweeted a picture of her a book signing and he said 'I love this pic of her, so pretty. It's a rough world out there, people.'
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