Iconic designer Virgil Abloh passed away on Sunday, November 28 after a private battle with cancer in his Chicago home among family and friends. He was only 42 years of age.
The news came as a shock to most Hollywood artists and fans who were unaware about the young designer’s long drawn battle with cardiac angiosarcoma, a rare form of cancer that affects your heart and the vessels. Virgil has always kept the public and media in the dark about his disease and instead tried to make headlines with amazing creations as the creative head at Louis Vuitton. Abloh got his big break in the fashion industry after collaborating a couple of times with American rapper, Kanye West in his music videos. Abloh joined West’s creative team and interned together at Fendi in 2009 for six months, where he learnt the nitty gritties of the fashion industry. In 2010, he was the creative director/designer for Kanye West’s Donda.
His style statement and fashion sense soon struck a chord with many and he even directed West and Jay-Z‘s “Watch the Throne” in 2011, for which he eventually earned himself a Grammy nomination in 2011. After tasting success with his creative stints, Virgil branched out to start his own brand, Off-White and was crowned the artistic director of Louis Vuitton menswear in 2018, thereby becoming the first black designer at LV to hold this post. His first runways show in June 2018 held at Paris during Men’s Fashion Week was a remarkable success.
The designer’s family shared a statement on Instagram on Sunday, commenting on his sudden passing away at just 42. “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.”
“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,” it read further.
Virgil’s sudden demise was felt quite deeply by a whole lot of Hollywood celebrities from Kim Kardashian to Hailey Beiber, Gigi Hadid and even Beyonce. Kim Kardashian put out an emotional Instagram post where she uploaded a couple of pictures with the late designer and captioned it, “God doesn’t make mistakes. I know that but I still can’t help but ask why. Why Virgil?! Why him so soon? It’s simply hard to understand why. I have a hard time understanding why so many pure souls were taken away so early.”
Hailey Beiber wore Abloh’s design as she walked down the aisle in 2018 and couldn’t hold back her tears as she spoke of the man. “Virgil completely changed the way I looked at street style and fashion, the way he looked at things inspired me deeply, I will never be able to fully express how grateful I am to have known him and worked with him, from walking on his runways to having him design my wedding dress and all the other amazing moments in between, I felt he was always rooting for me. He was someone who always brought life, charisma, love and fun to any situation, and every room he walked into. A once in a generation creative mind that is so rare and I’ll never forget his impact. We love you Virgil,” she wrote along with a couple of pictures from her gallery with him.
Supermodel Gigi Hadid was one of his closest friends both on and off ramp and had nothing but kind words and a sad eulogy for him. “His kindness and energetic generosity left a lasting impression on every life he touched— he made everyone feel seen and special. He will be deeply missed, cherished, and celebrated by me and all the people and industries that have been lucky enough to work around & know the true supernova behind this man,” she wrote in her Instagram post.
Virgil is survived by his wife Shannon Abloh, his children Lowe Abloh and Grey Abloh as well as sister Edwina Abloh and parents Nee and Eunice Abloh.