June 6 (UPI) -- Kate Spade's older sister said the designer suffered from mental illness and she was not surprised by news of her apparent suicide.
In an email to the Kansas City Star, Reta Saffo detailed her multiple attempts to get Spade into treatment but said her sister refused, worried about what people would think of her.
The iconic designer was found dead Tuesday at her apartment on Park Avenue in New York at age 55. She was married to Andy Spade, the brother of actor David Spade, and had a 13-year-old daughter, Frances.
"I will say this was not unexpected by me. I'd flown out to Napa and NYC several times in the past 3-4 years to help her to get the treatment she needed (inpatient hospitalization)," Saffo said. "She was always a very excitable little girl and I felt all the stress/pressure of her brand (KS) may have flipped the switch where she eventually became full-on manic depressive."
Saffo said she'd come close to getting Kate Spade into treatment, but she backed out every time.
"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!'," Saffo said. "I know she perhaps had a plan, but she insisted she did not."
Kate Spade left behind a note telling her daughter it wasn't her fault and to seek answers from her father, The Baltimore Sun reported, citing sources.
David Spade paid tribute by sharing family photos across social media.
"Fuzzy picture but i love it. Kate and I during Christmas family photos. We had so much fun that day. She was so sharp and quick on her feet," the actor said on Instagram.
"She could make me laugh so hard. I still cant believe it. Its a rough world out there people, try to hang on," he said.
On a Twitter photo of the two of them at his book signing, he wrote. "I love this pic of her. So pretty. I dont think everyone knew how [expletive] funny she was."
Kate Spade founded famous fashion and handbag brand that bears her name in 1993 with her husband. She launched a new fashion brand in 2007, Frances Valentine after leaving Kate Spade New York. Frances Valentine was bought by Coach in 2016.