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Virgil Abloh, groundbreaking designer, dead at 41

A true artist, who lived for his work, died fighting cancer

Virgil Abloh, a leading fashion executive hailed as the Karl Lagerfeld of his generation, has died after a private battle with cancer.
Designer Virgil Abloh walks backstage prior to his Off-White ready to wear Fall-Winter 2019-2020 collection, that was presented in Paris, Thursday, Feb. 28, 2019. Abloh, a leading fashion executive hailed as the Karl Lagerfeld of his generation, has died after a private battle with cancer. He was 41. Abloh’s death was announced Sunday, Nov. 28, 2021 by LVMH Louis Vuitton and the Off White label, the brand he founded.
Thibault Camus, Associated Press

On Sunday, Virgil Abloh, an influential Black designer who changed the landscape of luxury fashion, died in Chicago at the age of 41 after battling a rare cancer for two years. The death was confirmed by the family, according to The New York Times.

The late Louis Vuitton artistic director had reached global fame, which, according to The Wall Street Journal, was unusual for a designer.

Off-White, a fashion house he founded in 2012, and his collaborations with Nike, Evian and Ikea are proof of his visionary ideas. His specialty was blending streetwear and luxury clothing, which was described as transformative by The New York Times. And the rest of the world thought the same because Off-White surpassed Gucci as the “hottest” brand in the world, per the New Yorker.

“Everything I do is for the 17-year-old version of myself,” his wife quoted him in an Instagram post, and his belief that art can “inspire future generations.”

“Virgil was not only a genius designer, a visionary, he was also a man with a beautiful soul and great wisdom,” Bernard Arnault, the chairman of LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, said in a statement.

Per The Guardian, Kanye West dedicated his Sunday Service concert to his friend and collaborator this weekend. Abloh was also the creative director of West’s latest album “Donda.”

Other celebrities also paid tribute to the legendary icon.

It was only July this year when Abloh was given a seat at the table full of executives within LVMH, a luxury goods cooperation, which allowed him to work with the group’s 75 brands, according to The New York Times

He is survived by his wife, Shannon Abloh, his children, Lowe Abloh and Grey Abloh, his sister, Edwina Abloh, his parents — and a legacy he left for himself in the world of fashion and pop culture.