Cancer kills Virgil Abloh, the Ghana-heritage, global fashion designer at 41

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“We are all shocked by this terrible news. Virgil was not only a genius designer, a visionary, but also a man with a beautiful soul and great wisdom,” LVMH chief executive Bernard Arnault said in a statement (earlier today, November 28, 2021).

“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,” he added in the statement posted on LVMH’s Twitter account.

The group said he had been “battling privately” the cancer for several years.

Abloh, famed for bringing streetwear to the glitz of the catwalk, was the first black American creative director of a top French fashion house when he was chosen to be artistic director of Louis Vuitton’s menswear collection in 2018.

His parents had immigrated to the United States from Ghana.

LVMH also announced earlier this year it was taking a majority stake in the luxury streetwear label Off-White created by Abloh. LVMH took 60-percent stake in Off-White and Abloh retained 40 percent.

Abloh has addressed both environmental and social issues in his work with Louis Vuitton, with anti-racist and anti-homophobia messages at his January show in Paris.

He said earlier this year he planned to use his partnership with LVMH “to expand opportunities for diverse individuals and foster greater equity and inclusion in the industries we serve”.

The acknowledged king of luxury streetwear, Abloh had established himself within a few years as one of the most sought after designers in the world.

His trademark was a style reflecting street culture, with sneakers and sweatshirts, but also an easily recognisable logo, made of oblique black and white bands. He enjoyed successful collaborations with the likes of Nike, Jimmy Choo and Moncler.

Virgil Abloh created his first label, Pyrex Vision, in 2012.

A year later, Off-White was born, a luxury streetwear brand, which won a following through its eye-catching branding before evolving towards more “couture” creations.

Abloh, was one of a handful of fashion designers who had a close following well beyond the industry and was a celebrity name in his own right. Tributes immediately came in from celebrities around the world.

“RIP VIRGIL ABLOH. No one will forget the impact you had. God bless you my friend,” tweeted French football star Kylian Mbappe.

American singer Pharrell Williams wrote on Instagram: 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.”

British actor Idris Elba wrote on Twitter: “Too soon Virgil. You will be missed from this world man.” Ref: AFP

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