Iconic fashion designer Kate Spade, who has a popular clothes and accessories brand named after her, was found dead Tuesday at her home in New York's Upper East Side, local police said.

The 55-year-old hanged herself with a scarf in the bedroom of her home and left a suicide note, telling her teenage daughter it was not her fault, according to local media reports.


The Kansas City Sun reported Spade's sister as saying Spade had suffered from mental illness over the last three or four years, while The Baltimore Sun quoted a source as saying she was upset over "problems at home."

Born in Kansas City in Missouri in 1962, Spade served as the accessories editor at U.S. women's magazine Mademoiselle before founding the brand Kate Spade in 1993.

She built the label into a global brand with handbags, which have become accessible status symbols for many, and a variety of other products.

The Kate Spade brand was acquired by Coach last year amid sluggish sales at department stores.

The brand website posted a message mourning the death of its founder, saying, "Our thoughts are with her family at this incredibly heartbreaking time. We honor all the beauty she brought into this world."