Virgil Abloh, a renowned American fashion designer born to Ghanaian immigrant parents in Rockford, Ill., died Sunday at the age of 41, following a battle with “a rare and aggressive form of cancer, cardiac angiosarcoma “.
Abloh, who was Louis Vuitton’s male artistic director and founded Milan-based brand Off-White, was diagnosed with cardiac angiosarcoma, a rare and aggressive form of cancer in 2019.
He is survived by his wife Shannon Abloh, his children Lowe Abloh and Gray Abloh, his sister Edwina Abloh and his parents Nee and Eunice Abloh.
“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 beloved wife Shannon Abloh, his children Lowe Abloh and Gray Abloh , his sister Edwina Abloh, his parents Nee and Eunice Abloh, and many dear friends and colleagues ”, read a statement posted on his official Instagram page.
“For more than two years, Virgil valiantly fought a rare and aggressive form of cancer, cardiac angiosarcoma. He has chosen to wage his battle in private since his diagnosis in 2019, undergoing many difficult treatments, while also leading several important institutions that span fashion, art and culture.
“Through it all, his work ethic, endless curiosity and optimism have never wavered. Virgil was motivated by his dedication to his craft and his mission to open doors for others and to create pathways for greater equality in art and design. He would often say, “Everything I do is for the 17-year-old version of myself”, deeply believing in the power of art to inspire future generations. We thank you all for your love and support, and we ask for privacy as we mourn and celebrate the life of Virgil, ”the statement added.
Louis Vuitton parent company LVMH announced Abloh’s death in a tweet as well as a joint statement with Louis Vuitton and Off-White.
“LVMH, Louis Vuitton and Off White are devastated to announce the death of Virgil Abloh on Sunday, November 28, from cancer he had been fighting in private for several years,” the statement said.
“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. The LVMH family joins me in this moment of great sadness and we all think of their loved ones after the death of their husband, father, brother or friend, ”said LVMH CEO Bernard Arnault in the press release.
Even before becoming artistic director at Louis Vuitton, joining a small group of black designers working at such a high level in French design houses, Abloh was already a household name.
He founded luxury streetwear label Off-White in 2012. Celebrities like Rihanna, A $ AP Rocky, Beyoncé and Jay-Z have all been seen wearing Off-White pieces. Abloh has also collaborated with companies such as Nike, Jimmy Choo, Champion and more.
NPR rated that “Abloh was also known for his connection to Kanye West, for whom he designed both the album art and the merchandise. Abloh has also served as a Creative Director for West.
In 2019, Abloh launched an Off-White collaboration with IKEA.
The fashion designer who had degrees in civil engineering and architecture was creative and successful.
In 2018, after being appointed artistic director of the Vuitton men’s collection, Time Magazine named him as one of its 100 most influential people in the world, with Japanese artist Takashi Murakami writing of Abloh: “Everything from the way he works to the way he uses his time to the way he makes his judgments is principled. The foundation of its value, or its branding, is humanity itself, not a superficial trick. “