Virgil Abloh, the artistic director for Louis Vuitton menswear collection and founder of luxury streetwear label Off-White, died Sunday, November 28th, after a private battle with cancer. He was 41.
LVMH, Louis Vuitton’s parent company, announced Abloh’s death in a tweet along with a joint statement with Louis Vuitton and Off-White. "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 sorrow and we are all thinking of his loved ones after the passing of their husband, their father, their brother or their friend," CEO of LVMH Bernard Arnault said in the statement.
LVMH, Louis Vuitton and Off White are devastated to announce the passing of Virgil Abloh, on Sunday, November 28th, of cancer, which he had been battling privately for several years. pic.twitter.com/CytwZLvSFu— LVMH (@LVMH) November 28, 2021
According to a post on his personal Instagram account, Abloh battled a rare and aggressive form of cancer, cardiac angiosarcoma, since 2019. “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,” the Instagram post read.
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Since 2018, Abloh operated as the artistic director of Louis Vuitton's menswear collection – which he made history of becoming the brand’s first-ever Black artistic director. He was also the CEO of Off-White, a fashion house he founded in 2012 that collaborated with Nike, Champion, Jimmy Choo, and other companies. Celebrities such as Rihanna, A$AP Rocky, Beyoncé, and Jay-Z were all seen wearing Off-White. Prior to the achievements mentioned above, Kanye West named Abloh as his creative director, for whom he designed album art covers and merchandise.
Despite contending with cancer, Abloh continued to work on his many projects and partnerships, said the Instagram post on his 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.”
The official Twitter account for streaming service Tidal said its staff was heartbroken over “the monumental loss of the creative genius, visionary, and icon – Virgil Abloh.”
Our hearts are broken over the monumental loss of the creative genius, visionary, and icon — Virgil Abloh.— TIDAL (@TIDAL) November 28, 2021
Rest in Power, Virgil. pic.twitter.com/0yMyCnVVgH
In a statement on Instagram, Questlove wrote: “The teachable lesson here is disrupt. Provoke. Be controversial. Push buttons. Be a conversation piece…. live as a true artist.”
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Abloh is survived by his wife Shannon Abloh, his children Lowe Abloh and Grey Abloh, his sister Edwina Abloh, his parents Nee and Eunice Abloh, and many dear friends and colleagues.