Virgil Abloh, Louis Vuitton’s Artistic Director, Dead at 41

Tributes are lighting up social media as figures in the arts and fashion world mourn a man who broke barriers.

Louis Vuitton’s Artistic Director Virgil Abloh has died after secretly fighting cancer, the fashion house said in a statement released on social media Sunday. He was just 41.

“For over two years, Virgil valiantly battled a rare, aggressive form of cancer called cardiac angiosarcoma. 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,” read a statement released on Abloh’s personal Instagram account.

Since he was 17, Abloh’s goal was to inspire future generations, his family said. Fellow artists across all mediums chimed in with kind words about the Ghanian self-proclaimed maker.

Pharell tweeted, “Your work as a human and your work as a spiritual being will live’re with the Master now, shine.”

Singer Khelani tweeted, “rest in absolute peace. shocking. thank you Virgil” 

Designer Marc Jacobs wrote, “May you Rest In Peace and Power dear Virgil.”

K-Pop sensation BTS wrote, “It was an honor to work with you. A true creative genius."

Musician Thundercat tweeted, “Your work has changed so many lives. We love you.”

Abloh made history in fashion as the first Black man to take charge of a major French Fashion house, Louis Vuitton, in 2018. 

Last summer, Abloh was promoted within Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy to a new position that would see him work across the group's 75 brands, making him the most powerful Black executive in luxury. 

Abloh got his start interning for Fendi in 2009, where he met Kanye West and went on to become DONDA’s Creative Director and Artistic Director for Ye and Jay-Z’s 2011 joint album, “Watch the Throne.”

Abloh also lent his talents to album covers for A$ap Rocky, Pop Smoke, Westide Gunn, Kanye West and Lil Uzi Vert.

Abloh is the son of Ghanian immigrants. He grew up in Chicago and launched his wildly popular brand Off-White through LVMH in 2013. 

He is survived by his wife, Shannon Abloh, their two children, his sister and his parents.