Virgil Abloh, founder of the Off-White designer label and an artistic director at Louis Vuitton, died Sunday from cancer at the age of 41, Fox News reports.
“We are all shocked after this terrible news. Virgil was not only a genius designer, a visionary, he was also a man with a beautiful soul and great wisdom,” Louis Vuitton chairman and chief executive officer, Bernard Arnault, said in a statement following the tragic news, according to Fox.
The designer’s early death following a long-term fight with cancer was marked by tributes from a wide variety of celebrities and industry leaders.
The young designer, heralded as the Karl Lagerfeld of his generation, was diagnosed two years ago with a rare form of cancer that he chose to battle privately.
Family speaks out
“We are devastated to announce the passing of our beloved Virgil Abloh, a fiercely devoted father, husband, son, brother, and friend. He is survived by his loving wife Shannon Abloh, his children Lowe Abloh and Grey Abloh, his sister Edwina Abloh, his parents Nee and Eunice Abloh, and numerous dear friends and colleagues,” a family statement on his Instagram account said.
“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,” it continued.
The statement added: “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.”
Among the many noting Abloh’s tragic passing was Hailey Bieber, whose wedding dress for her marriage to pop star Justin Beiber was designed by Abloh’s brand.
“Virgil completely changed the way I looked at street style and fashion, the way he looked at things inspired me deeply,” she wrote. “I will never be able to fully express how grateful I am to have known him and worked with him, from walking on his runways to having him design my wedding dress and all the other amazing moments in between, I felt he was always rooting for me.”
Hailey Bieber added: “He was someone who always brought life, charisma, love and fun to any situation, and every room he walked into. A once in a generation creative mind that is so rare and I’ll never forget his impact. We love you Virgil.”
NBA star LeBron James marked Abloh’s passing with a picture of the two together that said, “Rest in Paradise LEGEND!!!”
The loss of the designer came at a young age, yet his life left a deep impact among many in the nation, and especially within the fashion industry.