Tributes have poured in for Virgil Abloh, the influential and era-defining designer at the helm of Louis Vuitton menswear and Off-White, who passed away Sunday, November 28 from a rare form of cancer. The announcement came as a shock to the industry, as the 41-year-old had decided to keep the illness, cardiac angiosarcoma, private since his diagnosis in 2019; enduring debilitating treatments behind closed doors while continuing to shape and lead the two behemoth fashion brands.
A post shared on his own Instagram today reads: “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.” LVMH, Louis Vuitton, and Off-White also shared the tragic news via statements on their respective social media accounts.
Among those who weighed in with tributes online were Kim Jones, Steven Kolb, Simon Port Jacquemus, and Marc Jacobs. “I am so sorry to read this. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family and loved ones. May you Rest In Peace and Power dear Virgil,” Jacobs wrote. On Twitter, Vanessa Friedman, New York Times’ fashion director, wrote that Abloh “changed what was possible in fashion.”
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The Illinois-native’s ascent to becoming a prolific luxury designer and a pioneer in the elevation of streetwear and cross-industry collaborations will ensure he’s remembered as one of the greatest talents of his generation—and the first Black man to be named artistic director at a major French fashion house. The dad-of-two is also referred to as an ardent supporter of young creative talent and a humble and relatable figure, despite his powerful position in fashion. Originally trained as an architect, he has also been named on Time’s 100 most influential people in the world list.
In a statement, Bernard Arnault, CEO of LVMH, said: “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.”