Kate Spade’s Father’s Cause of Death: Did He Die of Broken Heart Syndrome?

Getty Kate Spade

Kate Spade’s father, Earl F.  “Frank” Brosnahan, died shortly before his daughter’s funeral. Although his health was failing, his exact cause of death has not yet been released. Comparisons are already being made to Debbie Reynolds’ death so shortly after her daughter, Carrie Fisher, died. Is Broken Heart Syndrome real and did it affect Frank Brosnahan?

According to a statement released about Spade’s 89-year-old father’s death, his anguish over his daughter’s suicide did play a role in his own death. A statement from his family reads: “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.”

You can read the full statement below.

The Kansas City Star reported that Brosnahan had passed away just two minutes before the funeral mass for Spade. Brosnahan knew his daughter was strugglign and had begged her not to take prescription medication that he feared might hurt her, Page Six reported. He had spoken to his daughter the day before her death and thought she was fine. “The last I talked with her, the night before last, she was happy planning a trip to California to look at colleges. She doted on her daughter,” he said. He also said that he hoped his daughter would be buried with her mother. June Brosnahan had passed away in 2010.

Although the exact cause of Brosnahan’s death has not been released, it does appear that extreme grief might have been a factor, according to the family’s statement. The same question was speculated when Debbie Reynolds died exactly one day after Carrie Fisher died. Reynolds had told her son that she missed Carrie and then passed away a few hours later.

The American Heart Association has said that extreme grief can lead to death and that Broken Heart Syndrome is real. Extreme stress can lead to a surge in hormones which then puts stress on the heart. The medical term is “stress-induced cardiomyopathy.” It’s not known, however, if this was a contributing cause in Brosnahan’s death. Death of someone close is one of the most stressful events a person can face. According to the Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale, death of a spouse is the most stressful among a list of stressful events. But the death of a close family member ranks just a bit lower at #5 on their scale.

There are numerous cases of people dying right after a loved one passes. June Carter Cash and Johnny Cash, for example, died within months of each other. Sometimes the stress and grief are just too much.

Brosnahan and his first wife, June, had six children including Kate. He leaves behind his wife Sandy, his five children, eight grandchildren, three brothers, and a sister.

This is a developing story.