DESIGNER DIES: Fashion world in shock over Alexander McQueen

Mark Casci

THE fashion world was left reeling last night by the apparent suicide of celebrated British designer Alexander McQueen, just days after the death of his mother.

The 40-year-old’s body was discovered at his home in London’s West End yesterday morning. Sources said he was believed to have hanged himself.

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McQueen’s mother Joyce died on February 2, deeply affecting the young designer who was among the world’s finest.

The news of his death comes days before the start of London Fashion Week, due to open on February 19, and as final preparations were being made to unveil his spring collection in Paris.

A spokeswoman for the designer said his friends and colleagues were “devastated” by the tragic news.

McQueen, whose real name was Lee, was one of the most respected and revered fashion designers in the world and was named British designer of the year three times and awarded a CBE.

His design company, called Alexander McQueen, said in a statement that staff were “devastated and are sharing a sense of shock and grief with Lee’s family”.

Police officers stood guard yesterday outside McQueen’s house in London’s exclusive Mayfair. Following confirmation of his death, fans began to arrive, leaving floral tributes outside.

A Metropolitan Police spokesman said officers were called in by the ambulance service at about 10.20am.

“A post mortem examination and inquest will take place in due course,” he added. “The death is being treated as non-suspicious.”

The designer told his fans of his mother’s death earlier this month on social networking site Twitter.

He wrote: “I’m letting my followers know the my mother passed away yesterday if it she had not me or would you RIP mumx (sic).” A minute later he added: “But life must go on!”

The openly gay fashion guru married his partner, George Forsyth, in 2000 with model Kate Moss a bridesmaid at the ceremony.

Last night a spokesman for the model said: “Kate is shocked and devastated at the tragic loss of her dear friend Lee McQueen.”

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