Mourning an icon. Virgil Abloh died in Chicago on Sunday, November 28, after a private cancer battle, and Hollywood is paying tribute to the late 41-year-old designer.
Kanye West dedicated his Sunday Service to his friend. The pair’s relationship dates back nearly 20 years, according to the New York Times. Abloh joined the rapper’s creative team, and they both interned at Fendi together for six months in 2009 to learn every aspect of the fashion industry. In 2010, Abloh became the creative director of West’s Donda.
“In loving memory of Virgil Abloh, the creative director of Donda,” West wrote on his website for the Sunday Service live stream, which was broadcast hours after the designer’s death.
Abloh earned a Grammy nomination for directing West and Jay-Z‘s “Watch the Throne” in 2011. He later branched out to launch his own brand, Off-White, and was named artistic director of Louis Vuitton menswear in 2018. West openly shed tears after his friend’s first runway show with Louis Vuitton during Paris Men’s Fashion Week in June 2018.
Despite his worsening illness, the creative was planning to attend the French fashion house’s show in Miami on Tuesday.
The first Black designer to be an artistic director at LV kept his cancer diagnosis quiet. “For over two years, Virgil valiantly battled a rare, aggressive form of cancer, cardiac angiosarcoma,” his family shared in a statement via Instagram on Sunday. “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 continued, “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.”
The designer is survived by his wife Shannon Abloh, his children Lowe Abloh and Grey Abloh as well as sister Edwina Abloh and parents Nee and Eunice Abloh.
While the family mourns, emotional tributes have come pouring out of Hollywood. Virgil’s influence was not limited to the “Jesus Walks” rapper. Scroll down to see the how stars are honoring the Off-White creator: