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Can You Die Of A Broken Heart? The Death Of Kate Spade's Father Shows It's Possible

The 89-year-old patriarch passed away in his Kansas home the night before his daughter's funeral.


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In an official statement obtained by several news outlets, Kate Spade's family announced the death of Earl Brosnahan Jr. with the following words:

“We are deeply saddened to announce that Katy’s father, Earl F. Brosnahan, Jr. (Frank), passed away last night at age 89. He had been in failing health of late and was heartbroken over the recent death of his beloved daughter. He was at home and surrounded by family at the time of his passing."


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Not specifying the cause of his death, one of his daughters and older sister to Kate, Reta, had suggested that he had simply taken his daughter's death terribly and was unable to accept that she died from suicide. He did, after all, manage to speak with Kate on the night before she took her own life and expressed that she had sounded cheery and bright—just like her usual self. Like the rest of his family, he could not have foreseen that her time was almost up.

When the news of Earl's death was announced at Kate's funeral held at the Our Lady of Perpetual Help Redemptorist Church in Kansas City—the church where her grandparents wed—there was an audible gasp expressed by the large service.


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Although dressed in colorful garb as a tribute to Kate's love for happy designs, the attendees who included actor and comedian David Spade and Kate's niece, actress Rachel Brosnahan, were in a somber mood and their grief, heavy like a steel blanket. Aside from Kate's innermost circle, many mourners stationed themselves outside the church—a majority of whom were sporting Kate Spade handbags, accessories, and dresses—to pay their respects.

The eulogy delivered by Kate's husband and business partner, Andy Spade, focused on their love story and his admiration for her, while others spoke fondly of their professional memories with her. It is expected that a more private service will soon be held for Earl.


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Even in mourning, this father tried his best to speak hopefully about his daughter. Asked about her death, he said, "One thing we feel is that any talk that they do that helps somebody else, Katy would have liked that. She was always giving and charitable. If that helped anybody avoid anything—fine, she’d be delighted."


Photo from "What Happened When Kate Valentine Spade Walked Into a Kate Spade Store?" from the Fox News Magazine YouTube channel