Louis Vuitton creative director and Off-White founder Virgil Abloh has passed on after a long private battle with cancer.
The artistic director was 41 by the time of his death.
Abloh’s death was announced Sunday by the luxury group LVMH (Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy) and the Off-White label, the brand Abloh founded. Abloh was the men’s wear designer of Louis Vuitton.
“We are all shocked after this terrible news. Virgil was not only a genius designer, 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 after the passing of their husband, their father, their brother or their friend,” CEO of LVMH Bernard Arnault said in the statement.
A statement from Abloh’s family on the designer’s Instagram account said for the last two years, Abloh battled cardiac angiosarcoma, a rare form of cancer in which a tumor occurs in the heart.
“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 statement read.
Between all his many projects and collaborations, Abloh kept moving even as he was given a cancer diagnosis, a post on his personal Instagram account said.
“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.”
When Abloh became the artistic director of menswear at Louis Vuitton, he joined a small group of Black designers working at such a high level in French design houses. But Abloh was already a known name before he joined Louis Vuitton.
He founded the luxury streetwear label Off-White in 2012 and found success with both celebrities and teenagers alike. Rihanna, A$AP Rocky, Beyoncé, and Jay-Z were all seen wearing Off-White pieces. Abloh also collaborated with companies including Nike, Jimmy Choo, Champion, and more.
Abloh was also known for his ties to Kanye West, for whom he designed both album cover art and merchandise. Abloh also served as a creative director for West.
Abloh is survived by his wife Shannon Abloh and his children, Lowe and Grey.