Virgil was 41.
Virgil Abloh, the American-born son of Ghanaian immigrants who became fashion’s highest-profile Black designer and the creative mind behind Louis Vuitton’s menswear collections, died on Sunday at age 41, following a two-year battle with a rare form of cancer.
Abloh, who also worked as a DJ and visual artist, had been men’s artistic director for Vuitton, the world’s biggest luxury brand, since March 2018.
Abloh founded the Italian luxury streetwear label Off-White, in which LVMH took a 60% stake earlier this year. He was also a former collaborator with rapper and fashion designer Ye, formerly known as Kanye West.
“Virgil was not only a genius designer, a visionary, he was also a man with a beautiful soul and great wisdom,” Bernard Arnault, the billionaire boss of Luis Vuitton’s owner, French fashion conglomerate LVMH (LVMH.PA), said in a statement Sunday.
Kenyan comedian, now international, Elsa Majimbo also gave tribute to the icon calling him a visionary artist.
“RIP Virgil. You treated me like a baby sister and were one of the first person I could speak about my career with. You are loved and will be missed. A visionary artist to live on in our hearts.” (sic)
“For over two years, Virgil valiantly battled a rare, aggressive form of cancer, cardiac angiosarcoma,” said a message posted to his Instagram account. “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.”
Abloh is survived by his wife, Sannon, his children Lowe and Grey, his sister, Edwina, and his parents, Nee and Eunice.