Virgil Abloh, the visionary menswear designer for Louis Vuitton and founder and CEO of Off-White, died Sunday of cancer, according to a post from his verified Instagram account. He was 41.
“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,” the post read.
“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,” the Instagram caption read. “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.
Abloh, who founded luxury streetwear brand Off-White and served as Kanye West’s longtime creative director, rose to the top at Louis Vuitton in 2018, becoming the label’s first African-American artistic director and, as The New York Times noted in its story about Abloh’s Louis Vuitton appointment, “one of the few black designers at the top of a French heritage house.”
In a statement, Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy CEO Bernard Arnault said, “We are all shocked by this terrible news. 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.”