Tributes are pouring in for Louis Vuitton’s former artistic director, Virgil Abloh has lost his secret battle with cancer.
A post on his Instagram page confirmed the sad news, explaining Abloh had been battling a rare, aggressive form of cancer for more than two years.
“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,” the statement read.
“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 founded streetwear label Off-White and served as Kanye West’s longtime creative director before becoming Louis Vuitton’s first black artistic director, styling the likes of Rihanna and Hailey Bieber, who responded to the sad news by posting a photo of herself with Abloh on her wedding day.
Paying her respects to the man she commissioned to design her gown, she wrote: “Virgil completely changed the way I looked at street style and fashion, the way he looked at things inspired me deeply. I will never be able to fully express how grateful I am to have known him and worked with him, from walking on his runways to having him design my wedding dress and all the other amazing moments in between, I felt he was always rooting for me.
“He was someone who always brought life, charisma, love and fun to any situation, and every room he walked into. A once in a generation creative mind that is so rare and I’ll never forget his impact. We love you Virgil.”
Meanwhile, Pharrell Williams and designer Marc Jacobs are also paid their respects to Abloh.
“My heart is broken,” the producer and hitmaker has tweeted. “Virgil you were a kind, generous, thoughtful creative genius. Your work as a human and your work as a spiritual being will live forever. Sending love and light to your wife, children, family and day ones you’re with the Master now, shine.”
“I am so sorry to read this,” Jacobs added. “My thoughts and prayers go out to his family and loved ones. May you Rest in Peace and Power dear Virgil.”
Actress Jodie Turner-Smith also responded to the sad news of Abloh’s death, tweeting: “truly, f### CANCER,” and there have also been messages on social media from Questlove, Idris Elba, Finneas, Riz Ahmed, and Scooter Braun.
The performance was livestreamed at dondalive.com on Sunday afternoon, shortly after West shared the link on his Instagram Story.
Reworking the first verse, the choir members sang, “I know your love flows like a river/And I could wash myself in it forever/I know there is hope in these waters/But I can’t bring myself to swim/When I am drowning in my sin…”
They added, “Go easy on me, father/I am still your child/And I need a chance to/Feel your love around.”
“In loving memory of Virgil Abloh, the creative director of Donda,” a message on the screen read.”
Gigi Hadid also gave a heartfelt tribute to late fashion visionary Virgil Abloh.
The model took to Instagram to pay her respects, explaining she was “heartbroken” by the loss of “my dear friend.”
Calling Abloh “a friend to the world” Gigi added, “He was 1 of 1.
“His kindness and energetic generosity left a lasting impression on every life he touched – he made everyone feel seen and special. He will be deeply missed, cherished, and celebrated by me and all the people and industries that have been lucky enough to work around & know the true supernova behind this man.
“I picture him now like our Mickey Mouse… forever with us, forever adored, forever magical, forever guiding us with that special Virgil FUN; I’m sure that’s how he wanted to be remembered, but still it will never be the same without him in the room.”
Hadid also posted a photo slideshow of herself with the late fashion guru, and added: “You will continue to inspire me every day, V. I feel blessed and honored by every moment. Rest Easy, my friend. You are so loved. You were the difference. As we always said… ‘See you somewhere, soon’.
“Sending my deepest condolences, light, and strength to (Abloh’s wife) Shannon, their kids, and his whole family.”
Drake, Offset, Busta Rhymes, and Bruno Mars have also added their tributes to Abloh via social media.
“My plan is to touch the sky 1000 more times for you… love you eternally brother thank you for everything,” Drake captioned photos on Instagram of himself with Abloh, while Timberlake added: “What can you say when a force like @virgilabloh is taken too soon? You gave the world so much, in so little time. And created with intensity… knowing better than the rest of us that life is short, but anything is possible. I’m honored to have known you. Thank you for sharing your gift with us.”