Designer Kate Spade was alone in her New York City apartment on Tuesday morning when she apparently hanged herself, a police source confirms to PEOPLE, disputing earlier reports that Spade’s husband was home at the time.
Spade, 55, was found in her bedroom at her Manhattan residence around 10 a.m., according to N.Y.C. police sources. Her housekeeper, who had arrived for the day, discovered her body.
Officials said Spade was unresponsive from an apparent suicide, and she was reportedly pronounced dead at the scene.
Speaking at a news conference later Tuesday, police officials stressed that while evidence indicates Spade took her own life, the investigation was ongoing.
The medical examiner will make the ultimate determination on her cause and manner of death, which is pending.
Authorities have said Spade left a “suicide note,” but they declined to discuss its contents. A police source previously told PEOPLE that the note had messages for both her husband, Andy, and their 13-year-old daughter, Frances, and that it was intended in part to explain her actions.
Spade’s suicide this week rattled the fashion world where she made her name, largely on her eponymous handbags — the cornerstone of an accessories business that eventually grew to billion-dollar prominence.
Since the designer’s death, much attention has been paid to the problems she may have been facing away from the spotlight.
A source close to her family — while challenging an interview with her older sister claiming she had grappled with mental illness — described Spade as “kind, generous, funny, warm and extremely private person.”
“They seemed to be the perfect, happy family,” Cornelia Guest, a longtime friend, exclusively told PEOPLE.
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However, Guest added, “Nobody knows what’s going on with someone. When the doors close, you never know.”
In a statement of their own, Spade’s family said, in part: “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.”
If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).