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Barrier-breaking fashion designer Virgil Abloh dies of cancer of 41

Virgil Abloh, a barrier breaking designer who founded the Off-White fashion house and was the artistic director for Louis Vuitton’s mens collection, died from cancer at the age of 41. 

“We are all shocked after this terrible news,” Louis Vuitton chief executive Bernard Arnault said in a statement. “Virgil was not only a genius designer, a visionary, he was also a man with a beautiful soul and great wisdom.”

Abloh’s family released a statement through his Instagram account, sharing that the 41-year-old fashion designer was diagnosed with a rare, aggressive form of cancer called cardiac angiosarcoma in 2019. 

“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,” Abloh’s family said. 

“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,” the statement added. 

Abloh called himself a “maker” rather than a designer, also moonlighting as a furniture designer and DJ, according to the New York Times, which referred to him as the most powerful Black executive at the world’s most powerful luxury.

Abloh studied civil engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and obtained a master’s degree in architecture from the Illinois Institute of Technology. He then became Kanye West’s creative director in his early twenties. 

Tributes poured in Sunday for the Rockford, Ill. native from across the worlds of fashion, sports and entertainment. 

“I wish we lived in a world where we could celebrate the living instead of celebrating them when they leave,” Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. said in a tweet. “Rest In Peace to my brother Virgil ! You were loved.”

“RIP VIRGIL ABLOH,”Paris-Saint German forward Kylian Mbappe wrote.“No one will forget the impact you had. God bless you my friend.”

Tags Illinios Kanye West Louis Vuitton Rockford Virgil Abloh

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