Virgil Abloh, the men’s artistic director of Louis Vuitton and founder of beloved luxury streetwear brand Off-White, has died at the age of 41. The designer’s death was confirmed on November 28 by a post on his verified Instagram account. According to the message, Abloh died of cardiac angiosarcoma, a “rare, aggressive form of cancer.” Abloh fought hard to battle cancer since 2019 and had decided to do so privately. Abloh was considered highly admired in the fashion industry and he was adored by his family, friends, and fans.
The Legacy of Virgil Abloh
Before anything else, it’s important to recognize that Abloh made history as Louis Vuitton’s first Black artistic director and founded the cult streetwear label Off-White. At Louis Vuitton, he brought in a younger demographic, with menswear collections that blurred the lines between high fashion and streetwear. Most famously, he styled Timothée Chalamet at the Golden Globes in 2019 with his “embroidered bib.” Over versions of this design went on to be worn by Michael B. Jordan and Chadwick Boseman.
He was also big in the music and art world as a DJ and a longstanding collaborator of Kanye West. Abloh worked as a creative director for the rapper’s design agency Donda, designed some of Ye’s album covers, collaborated with the likes of Mercedes Benz on an art concept car, and even IKEA on a coveted range aimed at people moving into their first homes.
Abloh was named among Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in 2018, and the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago presented an exhibition of the work of “genre-bending artist and designer” in 2019.
A Designer Loved By Many
Hailey Baldwin Bieber
“Virgil completely changed the way I looked at street style and fashion, the way he looked at things inspired me deeply,” Hailey Bieber wrote, alongside photos of her in her wedding gown, which was designed by Abloh. “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.”
rest in absolute peace. shocking. thank you Virgil 🕊
— Kehlani (@Kehlani) November 28, 2021
So sad to hear about passing of Virgil Abloh an inspiration to so many and of course an inspiration me. Sending my love to his loved ones
— FINNEAS (@finneas) November 28, 2021
Odell Beckham Jr
I wish we lived in a world where we could celebrate the living instead of celebrating them when they leave. Rest In Peace to my brother Virgil ! You were loved.
— Odell Beckham Jr (@obj) November 28, 2021
Too soon Virgil. You will be missed from this world man.
— Idris Elba (@idriselba) November 28, 2021
Damn. Gutted. @virgilabloh is gone. He just texted me a few days ago… still —just a week ago— pushing me to focus on passion. The world lost an amazing talent today. I had no idea what he was fighting. Please don't squander your time. I'm trying to do better myself. pic.twitter.com/RRQmCtUGPf
— Alexis Ohanian 7️⃣7️⃣6️⃣ (@alexisohanian) November 28, 2021
Before his untimely death, he was working on plans for a Louis Vuitton fashion show in Miami, Florida, to coincide with the opening of a new men’s store in the city. A presentation of his Spring-Summer 2022 collection will go ahead at 5.30 pm ET on Tuesday, November 30, according to an update posted from Louis Vuitton’s official Twitter account.