Louis Vuitton artistic director and founder and CEO of fashion house Off-White Virgil Abloh has died. He was 41.
According to a statement posted on his Instagram page, the cause of death for Abloh was a “rare, aggressive form of cancer,” something he privately battled for two years.
“We are devastated to announce the passing of our beloved Virgil Abloh, a fiercely devoted father, husband, son, brother, and friend,” the post reads. “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.”
The statement praised the designer’s drive, positive attitude, and commitment to inclusion and inspiring others in his professional ending with a quote from the late artist and a request for privacy to mourn his life.
“Everything I do is for the 17-year-old version of myself.”
Abloh founded high-end streetwear fashion house Off-White in 2013. In 2018, Louis Vuitton hired him as the artistic director of the menswear ready wear line, making him the brand’s first Black artistic director.
Abloh is survived by his wife, Shannon, their two children, Lowe and Grey, his sister Edwina and parents Nee and Eunice.
The fashion and entertainment community took to social media to pay tribute to Abloh including the LVHM CEO Bernard Arnault, Gucci and musicians Pharrell Williams and Lenny Kravitz.
“We are all shocked by this terrible news,” Arnault said in an official statement on LVMH’s Instagram page. “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.”
Williams tweeted that his “heart is broken.”
“Virgil you were a kind, generous, thoughtful creative genius your work as a human and your work as a spiritual being will live forever,” Williams added. “Sending love and light to your wife, children, family and day ones you’re with the Master now, shine”
In a statement posted on Twitter, Gucci said the designer will be “deeply missed.”
“We would like to extend our most heartfelt condolences to the loved ones of Virgil Abloh, an immense inspiration to us all both as a designer and as a person. He will be deeply missed though his vision will live on through the trails that he blazed throughout his career.”
Kravitz shared a photo of Abloh on Instagram writing in part, “Rest in Power, King. You made an indelible mark on this world.”