Politics

‘Visionary’ fashion designer Virgil Abloh dies of cancer at 41

Abloh founded streetwear label Off-White and served as Kanye West’s longtime creative director before becoming first black artistic director of Louis Vuitton, the world’s biggest luxury brand

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Louis Vuitton’s former artistic director, Virgil Abloh, has lost his secret battle with cancer.

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The 41 year old passed away on Sunday.

A post on his Instagram page confirmed the sad news, explaining he had been battling a rare, aggressive form of cancer for more than 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 statement reads.

“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.”

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Abloh founded streetwear label Off-White and served as Kanye West’s longtime creative director before becoming Louis Vuitton’s first black artistic director in 2018.

“Virgil was not only a genius designer, a visionary, he was also a man with a beautiful soul and great wisdom,” LVMH’s billionaire boss Bernard Arnault said in a statement.

His arrival at LVMH marked the marriage between streetwear and high-end fashion, mixing sneakers and camouflage pants with tailored suits and evening gowns. His influences included graffiti art, hip hop and skateboard culture.

The style was embraced by the group as it sought to breathe new life into some labels and attract younger customers.

In July this year, LVMH expanded his role, giving him a mandate to launch new brands and partner with existing ones in a variety of sectors beyond fashion.

Abloh is survived by his wife, Shannon, and their children, Lowe and Grey, as well as his sister, Edwina, and their parents, Nee and Eunice.

Additional reporting from Reuters



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