Culture

Fashion Designer Virgil Abloh Dies at 41 After Private Battle With Cancer

On Sunday, November 28, it was announced that Off White’s chief executive officer and founder Virgil Abloh had passed away after a long, private battle with cancer at the age of 41. A tweet from the LVMH account shared a photo of Alboh and a statement from CEO of LVMH Bernard Arnault on his death.

“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,” wrote 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 LVMH family joins me in this moment of great sorrow, and we are all thinking of his loved ones after the passing of their husband, their father, their brother or their friend.”

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Soon after, a statement was posted to his Instagram page, reading, “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.”

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Abloh was born in Rockford, Illinois on September 30, 1980. His parents were from Ghana, and his mother was a tailor. His undergrad degree was actually in civil engineering and he went on to study architecture at the Illinois Institute of Technology for his master’s. His interest in fashion began while at IIT. In 2009, he graduated and went to work with Kanye West as an intern at Fendi, which eventually led to other opportunities: he art directed the 2011 Jay-Z/West album Watch the Throne and he was noticed by Louis Vuitton CEO Michael Burke. Abloh launched his first brand, Pyrex Vision, in 2012, before moving on to Off White.

According to the statement on his Instagram page, Abloh had a rare, aggressive form of cancer called cardiac angiosarcoma and was diagnosed in 2019.

It continued to say, “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.’”

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