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Sex. Celebrity. Politics. With Teeth

Virgil Abloh Remembered As 'A Genius,' 'Supernova'

Kanye West, Frank Ocean, Gigi Hadid, and more have paid homage to the fashion designer who died this weekend at 41 after battling a rare cancer.

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Image for article titled Virgil Abloh Remembered As 'A Genius,' 'Supernova'
Photo: Dimitrios Kambouris (Getty Images)

Fans and friends of Virgil Abloh spoke out in honor of his memory this weekend after the news broke that the visionary artistic director of menswear for Louis Vuitton and founder and CEO of Off-White died after a battle with cancer.

On the 41-year-old’s Instagram, his loved ones shared a statement reading that he, “a fiercely devoted father, husband, son, brother, and friend,” died after fighting a “rare, aggressive form of cancer, cardiac angiosarcoma.”

The post explained Abloh’s choice 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.”

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“He is survived by his loving wife Shannon Abloh, his children Lowe Abloh and Grey Abloh, his sister Edwina Abloh, his parents Nee and Eunice Abloh, and numerous dear friends and colleagues,” the post read.

Long before Abloh made history as Louis Vuitton’s first Black artistic director, he brushed shoulders with rapper Kanye West during his time at Fendi. The duo became friends and collaborators, which led to West appointing Abloh the creative director of his creative agency, Donda, and commission the designer to create the 2011 cover art for West’s collaborative album with Jay-Z, Watch the Throne. Abloh would go on to launch the high-end streetwear brand Off-White in 2013.

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Throughout his time at Off-White and later at Louis Vuitton, Abloh was well-regarded as an innovator and the person behind bringing the iconic French fashion brand into the modern era. Hailed the “Karl Lagerfeld for millennials,” his collaborations with Nike, Evian, Mercedez-Benz, and IKEA are just a few examples of how he mixed high fashion and hypebeast aesthetics to appeal to a wide variety of fashion aficionados.

In the wake of his death, many have spoken about his impact on the worlds of fashion and art — including LVMH’s CEO Bernard Arnault and former collaborator West.

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Arnault lauded Abloh as a “genius,” “beautiful soul,” and “visionary” in a statement published on LVMH’s social pages, while West  changed the Donda Live homepage to honor Abloh: “In loving memory of Virgil Abloh, the creative director of Donda.”

Other tributes included a lengthy post shared by Frank Ocean on his Instagram Story about Abloh’s legacy. Ocean called the late designer “BEYOND” and a “hero.”

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Screenshot: Instagram (Fair Use)

Fellow fashion icons such as Donatella Versace and Ralph Lauren paid homage to Abloh’s work in their own posts. Lauren shared a statement in a tweet, celebrating Abloh’s “unique curiosity & passion” as well as “his creativity & his dreams.” Versace shared that the loss of Abloh had her “lost for words” and emphasized that the “world has lost a fashion superstar” on Instagram. “An innovator. A creator for the history books. I am thinking of all your loved ones on this tragic day,” she wrote.

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Drake wrote of Abloh that his “plan is to touch the sky 1000 more times for you…love you eternally brother 🕊thank you for everything.” Hailey Bieber shared a sweet post about Abloh crafting her wedding dress and wrote that she “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,” she wrote. Gigi Hadid called Abloh “1 of 1" and said “his kindness and energetic generosity left a lasting impression on every life he touched— he made everyone feel seen and special.”

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“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,” she explained in a heartfelt post, complete with personal photos of time spent with Abloh.

Later this week, Louis Vuitton will be “paying tribute to the life and legacy of a creative genius with a presentation of his Spring-Summer 2022 Collection in Miami on November 30th at 5:30 pm (ET).”