Today, the fashion industry has lost a true visionary. The designer Virgil Abloh has passed away at 41. The Louis Vuitton men’s creative director and Off-White founder had been battling cardiac angiosarcoma, a rare form of cancer since 2019.
"For over two years, Virgil valiantly battled a rare, aggressive form of cancer, cardiac angiosarcoma. He chose to endure his battle privately since his diagnosis in 2019, undergoing numerous challenging treatments, all while helming several significant institutions that span fashion, art, and culture," read a statement on his Instagram account.
"Through it all, his work ethic, infinite curiosity, and optimism never wavered. Virgil was driven by his dedication to his craft and to his mission to open doors for others and create pathways for greater equality in art and design. He often said, “Everything I do is for the 17-year-old version of myself,” believing deeply in the power of art to inspire future generations," continued the post.
Bernard Arnault, CEO of LVMH, stated through a statement posted on Louis Vuitton's Instagram account, "We are all shocked by this terrible news. Virgil was not only a genius designer and a visionary, he was also a man with a beautiful soul and great wisdom. The LVMH family joins me in this moment of great sorrow and we are all thinking of his loved ones on the passing of their husband, father, brother, son and friend.”
Born in 1980 in Rockford, Illinois, Abloh was a graduate of the University of Wisconsin Madison, with a B.S. degree in Civil Engineering. He earned a Masters in Architecture at the Illinois Institute of Technology.
In 2012, Abloh founded the brand Off-White, and in 2018 he was named the men's artistic director of Louis Vuitton.
Expanding outside of the fashion world, Abloh launched his own furniture design in 2017 and debuted his collaboration with Mercedes-Benz in 2020. Back in May, he was the designer for the poet Amanda Gorman's appearance on the cover of Vogue.
Abloh was named among Time Magazine's 100 Most Influential People in 2018, and the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago presented an exhibition of the work of "genre-bending artist and designer" in 2019.
A creative and trailblazing genius, many took to social media to express their thoughts and feelings about the tragic loss of Abloh.
My heart is broken," Pharrell Williams wrote. "Virgil you were a kind, generous, thoughtful creative genius. Your work as a human and your work as a spiritual being will live forever Sending love and light to your wife, children, family, and day ones you’re with the Master now, shine."
"Rest in Power, King," Lenny Kravitz post read. "You made an indelible mark on this world."
"Too soon Virgil," tweeted actor Idris Elba. "You will be missed from this world."
Abloh is survived by his wife Shannon, his children Lowe and Grey, his sister Edwina Abloh and, his parents Nee and Eunice Abloh.
We send our prayers and condolences to the family and friends of Virgil Abloh.