Fashion designer McQueen found dead
LONDON (Reuters) - British fashion designer Alexander McQueen was found dead at his home on Thursday, just over a month before his 41st birthday.
"He was found dead this morning,"
McQueen's communications director Samantha Garrett told Reuters by telephone.
The British designer, whose wild creations rocketed him to the top of the fashion world, died days before the start of London Fashion Week and ahead of Paris Fashion Week, where he was set to unveil his new collection on March 9.
A statement released by his office -- referring to the designer by his given first name, Lee -- read: "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."
Born in London on March 17, 1969 as the youngest of six children, McQueen left school at the age of 16 and gained an apprenticeship at the traditional Savile Row tailors Anderson and Shephard, moving on to neighboring Gieves and Hawkes.
The former British Designer of the Year winner eventually gained a masters degree in fashion design from London's prestigious Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design.
In 1996, the man nicknamed "the hooligan of English fashion," with his close-cropped hair, Doc Marten boots and shocking designs, was named head designer at the staid Paris couture house Givenchy.
His first collection for Givenchy was not widely considered to be a success, but he went on to establish his own label, drawing in fans, customers and fame and earning a place on the top catwalks of Paris.
The Alexander McQueen fashion design house is part of the Gucci group of brands owned by French retailer and luxury goods group PPR.