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Virgil Abloh, artistic director for Louis Vuitton and Off-White founder, dies of cancer at 41

Virgil Abloh

The Louis Vuitton artistic director and Off-White founder Virgil Abloh died Sunday of cancer, according to a tweet by the luxury group LVMH. He was 41.

“LVMH, Louis Vuitton and Off-White are devastated to announce the passing of Virgil Abloh on Sunday, November 28th, of cancer, which he had been battling privately for several years,” the tweet read.

LVMH owns Louis Vuitton among other luxury brands.

In an attached statement, the group also quoted the LVMH chairman, Bernard Arnault: “We are all shocked after this terrible news. Virgil was not only a genius designer, a visionary, he was also a man with a beautiful soul and great wisdom,” the statement read in part.

The power of art

A post on Sunday on Abloh’s verified Instagram account confirmed his death and paid tribute to the legendary designer, noting he had been diagnosed with a rare form of cancer in 2019.

“We are devastated to announce the passing of our beloved Virgil Abloh, a fiercely devoted father, husband, son, brother and friend. He is survived by his loving wife Shannon Abloh, his children Lowe Abloh and Grey Abloh, his sister Edwina Abloh, his parents Nee and Eunice Abloh, and numerous dear friends and colleagues,” the post read.

“For over two years, Virgil valiantly battled a rare, aggressive form of cancer, cardiac angiosarcoma. He chose to endure his battle privately since his diagnosis in 2019, undergoing numerous challenging treatments, all the 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.

“We thank you all for your love and support, and we ask for privacy as we grieve and celebrate Virgil’s life.”

Profile

Virgil Abloh was born on 30 September 1980, in Rockford, Illinois, to Ghanaian immigrant parents. His mother was a seamstress and his father managed a paint company.

He was an artist, architect, engineer, creative director and designer. After earning a degree in civil engineering from the University of Wisconsin Madison, he completed a Master’s degree in architecture at the Illinois Institute of Technology in a curriculum founded by Mies van der Rohe.

Virgil Abloh’s brand Off-White c/o Virgil Abloh™️ was started in 2012 as an artwork titled PYREX VISION. In 2013, the brand premièred a seasonal men’s and women’s fashion label, showing runway collections during Paris Fashion Week since 2015.

In 2015, Virgil Abloh for Off-White c/o Virgil Abloh™️ was among the finalists forthe LVMH Prize.

Abloh also presented his work at major design institutions around the globe such as the Harvard Graduate School of Design, Columbia Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation and the Rhode Island School of Design. In 2019 he had a major exhibition of past and current work at the Museum of Contemporary Art of Chicago, Illinois.

He was awarded many prizes throughout his outstanding career, including the British Fashion Awards Urban Luxe award and International Designer of the Year at the GQ Men of the Year Awards in 2017.

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