Image: LVMH

LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, Louis Vuitton, and Off-White announced the death of Off-White founder and Louis Vuitton menswear director this weekend, saying that they “are devastated to announce the passing of Virgil Abloh, on Sunday, November 28th, of cancer, which he had been battling privately for several years.” In a statement, LVMH chairman and CEO Bernard Arnault said, “We are all shocked after this terrible news. Virgil was not only a genius designer, a visionary, he was also a man with a beautiful soul and great wisdom. The LVMH family joins me in this moment of great sorrow.” 

The news comes after LVMH announced in July that it was taking a majority stake in Off-White, the upscale streetwear brand that Virgil Abloh, a DJ-slash-designer, launched in 2013. In a statement at the time, Paris-based LVMH revealed that in addition to taking a 60 percent stake in Off-White, it has entered into a new “arrangement” with Abloh to “jointly pursue new projects across luxury categories.” The new partnership would “leverage the Group’s expertise to launch new brands and partner with existing ones in a variety of sectors beyond the realm of fashion,” with initial discussions already underway, according to the French luxury goods conglomerate.

Abloh has been widely recognized as helping to herald in a new approach to fashion and luxury, and as TFL previously asserted, it is impossible to deny the sheer force that has catapulted Off-White to the forefront of the minds of young, hip, fashion-focused consumers. Much has been made of Virgil Abloh in the press since he launched Off-White in 2014 after garnering fans with his (now-defunct) streetwear brand, Pyrex Vision.

A statement on Abloh’s own Instagram account read on Sunday, “For over two years, Virgil valiantly battled a rare, aggressive form of cancer, 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. 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.”