Tragedy has struck the fashion community today with the news that British fashion designer Alexander McQueen has passed away at age 40.

Police were called to the designer’s Mayfair apartment just after 10am London time, after his body was discovered and a private ambulance arrived to take away his body at 4.30pm – hours before his latest collection was scheduled to show at New York Fashion Week.

Immediately after Alexander McQueen’s company headquarters were informed of the news they released a statement saying:
‘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. 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 cause of his death has not been confirmed but media reports have suggested McQueen committed suicide – thought to be a reaction to the recent death of his beloved mother, Joyce McQueen.

Born Lee McQueen in Lewisham, London, he attended the prestigious Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design and was subsequently “discovered” by the influential stylist Isabella Blow when she bought his entire graduation collection.

His early collections drew controversy for their subject matter particularly his infamous tattered lace and tartan “Highland Rape” collection – inspired by the rape of the Scottish Highlands at the hands of the British. He went on to succeed John Galliano as head designer for Givenchy before developing his highly influential eponymous label from 2001, recently receiving rave reviews for his spring/summer 2010 ready-to-wear collection.

Already the tributes have come pouring in from within the fashion world, from the likes of Marc Jacobs, Daphne Guiness, Stella McCartney, Kate Moss and Philip Treacy.

His incredibly creativity, ability to capture romance, humour and darkness through clothing, and the beautiful construction of his work will leave an enormous void in fashion and the Arts.

He was truly brilliant, an innovator, and an icon.

Rest in peace Alexander McQueen.

Via Daily Mail