Fashion designer Virgil Abloh dies at 41

Famed fashion designed Virgil Abloh died of cancer Sunday at the age of 41, according to a post on his Instagram account that was confirmed by his family.

Abloh was founder of the fashion label Off-White, as well as men’s artistic director for Louis Vuitton, The Washington Post reported. He was also a close friend and longtime creative director for rapper Kanye West, a designer known for his collaborations with Nike, and even a DJ.

“We are devastated to announce the passing of our beloved Virgil Abloh, a fiercely devoted father, husband, son, brother, and friend,” read a Sunday post on his Instagram account.

The post went on to add that he had been privately battling cancer since 2019.

“For over two years, Virgil valiantly battled a rare, aggressive form of cancer, cardiac angiosarcoma,” the post said. “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.

“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.”

In a statement, Bernard Arnault, the chairman of LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, praised Abloh’s legacy.

“Virgil was not only a genius designer, a visionary, he was also a man with a beautiful soul and great wisdom,” Arnault said, according to The New York Times.

Selby Drummond, a friend of Abloh’s and the chief brand officer of the dating app Bumble, hailed his ability to accomplish things no other fashion designer had done before.

“His work was a paradigm shift in an industry which can be very protective and territorial,” Drummond told The Wall Street Journal. “He honored so many communities, creatives and talents that had not been honored that way before…He made it the norm to reach across disciplines, across brands, across socioeconomic classes, across decades, and work together.”

On social media, fans and celebrities mourned his passing and celebrated his legacy.

In its obituary of Abloh, The Times said he “transformed” the very meaning of the term “fashion.”

“Mr. Abloh transformed not just what consumers wanted to wear, bridging hypebeast culture and the luxury world, but what brands wanted in a designer — and the meaning of ‘fashion’ itself,” The Times said.

“For him clothes were not garments but fungible totems of identity that sat at the nexus of art, music, politics and philosophy. He was a master of using irony, reference and the self-aware wink (plus the digital world) to re-contextualize the familiar and give it an aura of cultural currency.”