Following the tragic death of handbag icon Kate Spade yesterday, her husband Andy has released an official statement.

Speaking of the woman he began an accessories empire with after the pair met at university, he describes his wife as his "best friend for 35 years" and says he and the couple's daughter, Frances, 13, "are devastated by her loss".

In his statement, he explains his wife's battle with depression and anxiety and, in contrast to previous reports and claims by Spade's estranged sister, says she was "actively seeking help".

He also addresses rumours that he was in the process of pushing for a divorce, stating the couple "loved each other very much and simply needed a break."

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Andy Spade's full statement:

"Kate was the most beautiful woman in the world. She was the kindest person I've ever known and my best friend for 35 years. My daughter and I are devastated by her loss, and can't even begin to fathom life without her. We are deeply heartbroken and miss her already.

Kate suffered from depression and anxiety for many years. She was actively seeking help and working closely with her doctors to treat her disease, one that takes far too many lives. We were in touch with her the night before and she sounded happy. There was no indication and no warning that she would do this. It was a complete shock. And it clearly wasn't her. There were personal demons she was battling.

For the past 10 months we had been living separately, but within a few blocks of each other. Bea was living with both of us and we saw each other or spoke every day. We ate many meals together as a family and continued to vacation together as a family. Our daughter was our priority. We were not legally separated, and never even discussed divorce. We were best friends trying to work through our problems in the best way we knew how. We were together for 35 years. We loved each other very much and simply needed a break.

This is the truth. Anything else that is out there right now is false. She was actively seeking help for depression and anxiety over the last 5 years, seeing a doctor on a regular basis and taking medication for both depression and anxiety. There was no substance or alcohol abuse. There were no business problems. We loved creating our businesses together. We were co-parenting our beautiful daughter. I have yet to see any note left behind and am appalled that a private message to my daughter has been so heartlessly shared with the media.

My main concern is Bea and protecting her privacy as she deals with the unimaginable grief of losing her mother. Kate loved Bea so very much."

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