Virgil Abloh, artistic director for Louis Vuitton and Off-White founder, dies of cancer at 41

by Rayne McKinney

Virgil Abloh, the menswear designer for Louis Vuitton and founder and CEO of Off-White, died Sunday of cancer, confirmed in 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.

Abloh was battling against cardiac angiosarcoma for over 2 years. According to CNN, “Abloh was a true multi-hyphenate — first, and foremost a fashion designer, who before making history as Louis Vuitton’s first Black artistic director, founded the cult streetwear label Off-White.” He had no artistic boundaries, pushing the limits of gender norms, streetwear, and fashion, and standing for BLM rights.

Abloh was very close to rapper and fashion designer, Kanye West. He came to the forefront after Timothee Chalamet, Michael B. Jordan and Chadwick Boseman wore his clothing to the Golden Globes. He also designed a few album covers and gave advice for Kanye’s brand, Yeezy. He did some work for Mercedes-Benz and even IKEA. CNN notes, “Tributes poured in overnight for the late designer, who was one of fashion’s most powerful Black men, in an industry that notoriously lacks diversity…Virgil’s life was a testament to how much Black Lives Matter by showing what black lives are capable of…His march took him to the top of luxury fashion. Virgil started out as a foot soldier but died as a general.” He is a once-a-generation genius. His creativity was out of this world and his legacy will live on in art as well as fashion.

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