Virgil Abloh, the Creative Director of Louis Vuitton and the Originator of Off-white, Died of Cancer at the Age of 41

In Summary

  • Virgil Abloh, creative director for Louis Vuitton and Off-White originator, dies of cancer aged 41.
  • He was "heroically fought a rare, aggressive type of cancer, cardiac angiosarcoma," Instagram post says. 
  • "We are deeply horrified following this tragic news," tweets company's CEO Bernard Arnault. 
  • He leaves behind a wife, two children, his parents, sister and "countless loyal friends and colleagues". 
  • Virgil Abloh was the creative director of Louis Vuitton's menswear brand Off-White.
  • He was recognized among Time Magazine's 100 Most Influential People in 2018. 
  • The Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago will hold an exhibition of his work in 2019.
  • In May, he was the designer for poet Amanda Gorman's appearance on Vogue's cover.

Virgil Abloh, the Creative Director of Louis Vuitton and the Originator of Off-white, Died of Cancer at the Age of 41
Left to right side to side, Image of Virgil Abloh with his lovely Wife at wedding ceremony pose. /INSTAGRAM/ FILE/ COURTESY


Virgil Abloh, creative director for Louis Vuitton and Off-White originator, dies of cancer aged 41

Virgil Abloh, the celebrated menswear designer for Louis Vuitton and originator of Off-White, died Sunday of cancer, according to a message from his verified Instagram account. He was 41.

"We are heartbroken to announce the departure of our beloved Virgil Abloh, a passionately dedicated father, husband, son, brother, and friend. He is survived by his beloved wife Shannon Abloh, his children Lowe Abloh and Grey Abloh, his sister Edwina Abloh, his parents Nee and Eunice Abloh, and countless loyal friends and colleagues," the message stated.

"For for two years, Virgil heroically fought a rare, aggressive type of cancer, cardiac angiosarcoma. He opted to fight his struggle quietly since his diagnosis in 2019, undertaking multiple rigorous treatments, all while helming several prominent organizations that span fashion, art, and culture.\s" Through it all, his work ethic, limitless curiosity, and optimism never faltered. Virgil was motivated by his passion to his profession and to his purpose to open doors for others and develop routes for greater equality in art and design. He frequently remarked, 'Everything I do is for the 17-year-old version of myself,' believing fully in the power of art to inspire future generations.\s"We thank you everyone for your love and support, and we ask for privacy while we mourn and celebrate Virgil's life," the statement added.

The luxury conglomerate LVMH, which owns Louis Vuitton, tweeted about his death and, in a statement, cited LVMH chairman Bernard Arnault: "We are deeply horrified following this tragic news. Virgil was not just a brilliant creator, a visionary, he was also a guy with a wonderful spirit and tremendous knowledge."

Virgil Abloh presenting about his design concept at Design Miami in 2016

Born in 1980 in Rockford, Illinois, Abloh obtained a degree in civil engineering from the University of Wisconsin Madison and finished a master´s degree in architecture at the Illinois Institute of Technology, according to his web profile.

He was a longstanding partner with Kanye West, helping to refine the eccentric's artist's persona and DONDA line. In 2012, Abloh launched the brand Off-White, and in 2018 he was chosen the men's creative director of Louis Vuitton. LVMH purchased a controlling share in Off-White last July in a deal that both parties anticipated would mark a new era.

"I'm also thrilled to utilize this cooperation to enhance my ongoing commitment to increase opportunities for diverse people and encourage more diversity and inclusion in the sectors we serve," Abloh stated at the time. "This is a great new platform to take the disruption we've done together to a whole new level."

Primarily recognized for his work on menswear, Abloh's impact frequently spilled into other industries. He launched his approach on furniture design in 2017 and on car design last year with Mercedes-Benz. In May, he was the designer for the poet Amanda Gorman's appearance on the cover of Vogue.

Abloh was recognized among Time Magazine's 100 Most Influential People in 2018, and the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago held an exhibition of the work of "genre-bending artist and designer" in 2019.

"Abloh pioneers a methodology that crosses across media and links visual artists, musicians, graphic designers, fashion designers, and architects," the museum noted.

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