Virgil Abloh, artistic director for Louis Vuitton and Off-White founder, dies of cancer at 41
Fashion designer Virgil Abloh has died after suffering from cancer, it has been announced.
The 41-year-old, who was the creative director for Louis Vuitton and Off-White, had cardiac angiosarcoma, a rare, aggressive form of the disease, according to an announcement on his official Instagram page.
“We are devastated to announce the passing of our beloved Virgil Abloh,” it said. “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.
“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.”
Abloh redefined the idea of the modern fashion designer, adding DJ, artist and furniture designer to his creative arsenal. After training as an architect, he started designing clothes in 2012. His first design, a screenprint on a Ralph Lauren rugby shirt, set the tone for his future work: a postmodern art stunt cum fashion piece. Collaborating with everyone from Nike to Ikea, Perrier and Mercedes-Benz, he took fashion into arenas where it had not gone before, cross-pollinating it with other fields. The fashion purists were not amused; he told the Observer in 2019, “When I was showing in fashion week, people were saying, ‘That’s not fashion.’” In 2013 he founded his own label, Off-White, and was appointed head of menswear design at Louis Vuitton in 2018. He was the first black designer at Vuitton and the most visible black designer in fashion.