After privately battling cancer for the past few years, prominent black fashion designer, Virgil Abloh, died Sunday, his family announced.
Virgil Abloh was the men’s artistic director of Louis Vuitton and a popular collaborator with some of the biggest names in hip hop, including Rihanna, Kanye West, A$AP Rocky, and he also designed the album cover of Pop Smoke’s posthumous album aside from the work he did with the late artist.
A post on his official Instagram page announced that he passed away after battling a rare and aggressive form of cancer, cardiac angiosarcoma, which he battled with over the past two years.
“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 post said.
It continued- “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.”
The designer is survived by his wife Shannon Abloh, his children Lowe and Grey Abloh, and his parents and other family members.
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Virgil Abloh rose to acclaim in the early 2000s and was the creator of the Haute streetwear label Off-White. In 2010 after serving as Kanye West’s longtime creative director, he was given the official title of creative director of DONDA creative house, where Kanye’s designs came alive.
He became creative director at Louis Vuitton in 2018, becoming the label’s first Black artistic director and one of the few Black designers atop a storied French design house where he lived in France and oversaw numerous arms of the designer’s products.
Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy Chief Executive Officer Bernard Arnault, in a statement, commended the life and work of the creative director.
“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.”
Abloh has also had a long and fruitful relationship with hip hop, where he brought music and fashion together. Over the years, his notable works include art direction of several award-winning albums, including Kanye’s ‘My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, Kanye West and JAY-Z’s ‘Watch the Throne’ for which he also received a Grammy award as a collaborator, G.O.O.D. Music’s ‘Cruel Summer’, Kanye West’s ‘Yeezus’, Kid Cudi’s ‘WZRD’, Big Sean’s ‘Finally Famous’, ASAP Rocky’s ‘Long.Live.ASAP’, Pusha-T’s ‘My Name Is My Name’, Lil Wayne’s ‘I Am Not a Human Being II’, Theophilus London’s ‘Vibes’, Pusha-T’s ‘Darkest Before Dawn: The Prelude’, Big Sean’s ‘Dark Sky Paradise’, Lil Uzi Vert’s ‘Luv Is Rage 2’, and many others.
That aside, he was also creative director for Kanye West’s Yeezus Tour and other tours by Lil Uzi Vert, among others.
Among the musicians paying homage to Virgil Abloh includes Drake, Offset, Rihanna, DJ Khaled, A$AP Rocky and more.
“My plan is to touch the sky 1000 more times for you…love you eternally brother thank you for everything,” Drake wrote on Instagram while sharing some photos of himself with Abloh.
“Thank you for what you have done for our culture and community as a black man [You] changed the game in design and fashion you believed in our youth RIP [Virgil Abloh] ‘you are the culture’,” Offset wrote.