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"For our customers, fashion is in the right place in their life.
It's an adornment, not an obsession." From the original boxy handbags, she expanded into shoes, luggage and other accessories, as well as a home line, stationery, and three books.
Julia Curry, a spokeswoman for the company, said, "Kate will be dearly missed" and "our thoughts are with (husband) Andy and the entire Spade family at this time." Spade attended Arizona State University in 1985 and graduated with a degree in journalism.
She described Phoenix as "a special place where I met my then-boyfriend and now husband" in 2002.
"We want to honor her life and her major contribution to the fashion business and express our most sincere condolences to the family," the statement said.
On social media, high-profile fans and followers reacted to the news, including singer Josh Groban.
She walked away from the company in 2007, a year after it was acquired from the Neiman Marcus Group for 5 million by the company then known as Liz Claiborne Inc.
Coach, now known as Tapestry, bought the Kate Spade brand last year for .4 billion, seeking to broaden its appeal.
"As an accessory, a great bag that takes the outfit somewhere else is interesting," she told the AP in a 2000 interview.
During the latter part of his career, Shakur was a vocal participant during the East Coast–West Coast hip hop rivalry, becoming involved in conflicts with other rappers, producers, and record-label staff members, most notably The Notorious B. Many people in Shakur's life were involved with the Black Liberation Army; some were convicted of serious criminal offenses and imprisoned, including his mother.
His godfather, Elmer "Geronimo" Pratt, a high-ranking Black Panther, had been convicted of murdering a school teacher during a 1968 robbery, although his sentence was later overturned.
"Her love of clean, simple and modern handbag designs filled a niche in a market that was flooded with trendy, complicated bags.
Building the business from limited resources, she used her enterprising ingenuity to start what would eventually become a successful international business.