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In Pictures: British fashion bad boy Alexander McQueen found dead in flat at 40

Acclaimed fashion designer Lee Alexander McQueen was found dead at his home in London yesterday after committing suicide on the eve of his mother's funeral.

The 40-year-old had been making the final touches to his spring collection, which was due to be unveiled in Paris next month. He was found hanged at his flat in Mayfair, shortly after 10am yesterday.

He had been struggling to cope with the death, 11 days ago, of his beloved mother, Joyce. Writing on his Twitter page, McQueenWorld, last week, he told followers: “I'm letting you know my mother passed away yesterday if it she had not me nor would you RIP mumXXXXXXXXXX.”

He added: “Life must go on!”

In a statement his company said: “Lee McQueen, the founder and designer of the Alexander McQueen brand, has been found dead at his home. We are devastated and are sharing a sense of shock and grief with Lee's family.”

He was pronounced dead at the scene by ambulance staff.

Alexandra Shulman of British Vogue, said: “Lee McQueen influenced a whole generation of designers. His brilliant imagination knew no bounds as he conjured up collection after collection.”

McQueen was one of six children born to an East End taxi driver. He left school at 16 to work as a tailor's apprentice on Savile Row, where his clients included Mikhail Gorbachev and the Prince of Wales. With his ultra-short hair, Dr Martens boots and penchant for shock tactics at his early catwalk shows, McQueen was the enfant terrible of the fashion world. He created “bumsters”, trousers with a waistband so low that the buttocks are revealed.

He was discovered by Isabella Blow, the style guru and fashion director of Tatler magazine who killed herself in May 2007 by taking weedkiller after being diagnosed with ovarian cancer.

McQueen hit the mainstream when he was chosen to succeed John Galliano at Givenchy in 1996. He stayed with the fashion house until 2001 but left to concentrate on his own label.

He was named British designer of the year four times and received a CBE. Openly gay, McQueen described himself as the “pink sheep of the family”.

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