Lee Alexander McQueen

Acclaimed, openly gay, British fashion designer Alexander McQueen has been found dead in his London home just days after the death of his mother.

The designer was set to unveil his latest collection in just over a month at Paris fashion week. It is believed that he committed suicide, at least in part due to his difficulty in accepting his mother’s passing.

“On behalf of Lee McQueen’s family, Alexander McQueen today announces the tragic news that Lee McQueen, the founder and designer of the Alexander McQueen brand, has been found dead at his home,” his company said in a statement.

“At this stage it is inappropriate to comment on this tragic news beyond saying that we are devastated and are sharing a sense of shock and grief with Lee’s family. Lee’s family has asked for privacy in order to come to terms with this terrible news and we hope the media will respect this,” the brand said.

The forty year old London-born McQueen, whose first name was Lee, but who used his middle name for his label, was the son of a taxi driver and became interested in fashion when he began making dresses for his sisters.

While police have refused to confirm the cause of death, reported to be hanging, they did say that they were treating the incident as “non suspicious”.

McQueen was head designer at Givenchy from 1996 until 2001 and was the youngest designer to be awarded the title of “British Designer of the Year”, which he won four times. His work was labelled as controversial and he was often described as “the hooligan of English fashion”.

In 2003 he was made a Commander of the British Empire (CBE) by the Queen. “I now formally urge the British Government to match this recognition by investing in manufacturing and new talent – the foundation of British Fashion,” he said at the time.

McQueen, who once asserted, “I went straight from my mother’s womb onto the gay parade,” is survived by his partner, British filmmaker George Forsyth. The two married in 2000 on a yacht in Ibiza with super model Kate Moss as a bridesmaid.

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