Kanye West and Drake lead tributes to fashion designer Virgil Abloh who has died aged 41

Designer Virgil Abloh has died at the age of 41. Credit: AP

Rap superstars Kanye West and Drake have paid tribute to prolific fashion designer Virgil Abloh following his death at 41.

The Louis Vuitton and Off-White designer had been privately battling cancer since 2019.

Famous fans and collaborators including Pharrell Williams, Victoria Beckham and Gigi Hadid marked his impact on the worlds of fashion, music and design after news of his death broke on Sunday.

Abloh was creative director of West’s creative agency, Donda, and the rapper paid tribute on the company’s website.


Canadian star Drake shared a series of photos of himself with Abloh and wrote on Instagram: “My plan is to touch the sky 1000 more times for you…love you eternally brother. Thank you for everything.”

Pharrell Williams said: “My heart is broken. 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 (sic) ones. You’re with the Master now, shine.”

Korean pop superstars BTS, who collaborated with Abloh on a range for Louis Vuitton, said: “RIP Virgil Abloh , you will be missed. It was an honor to work with you. A true creative genius.”

Pop star turned fashion designer Victoria Beckham shared a photo of Abloh on Instagram and wrote: “A true inspiration in so many ways. Rest in peace @virgilabloh.

“Sending love and light to your beautiful family. We will all miss you so very much.”

US rocker Lenny Kravitz added: “1980-2021. Rest in Power, King. You made an indelible mark on this world.”

Actor Riz Ahmed said: “Rest in Power @virgilabloh … gone too soon but your legacy lives on. Stretched culture & the changed the game.

“Thank you for all you did to support so many & how you pushed us to reimagine what’s possible."

Fashion house Versace added: “The Versace team would like to extend our deepest condolences at the sad news of Virgil Abloh’s passing.

“A visionary within the world of fashion, his presence will be deeply missed and his legacy with us forever.”

Chart-topping singer The Weeknd simply posted a broken-heart emoji on Twitter and wrote: “Virgil.”

Supermodel Hadid shared a string of photos of them together and wrote: “I am heartbroken by the loss of my dear friend, and a friend to the world, Virgil Abloh. He was 1 of 1.

“His kindness and energetic generosity left a lasting impression on every life he touched — he made everyone feel seen and special.

“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.

“I picture him now like our Mickey Mouse .. forever with us, forever adored, forever magical, forever guiding us with that special Virgil FUN; I’m sure that’s how he wanted to be remembered, but still it will never be the same without him in the room.

“You will continue to inspire me every day, V. I feel blessed and honored by every moment.

“Rest Easy, my friend. You are so loved. You were the difference. As we always said.. ‘See you somewhere, soon’.”

Justin Timberlake also paid tribute, writing: “What can you say when a force like @virgilabloh is taken too soon?

“You gave the world so much, in so little time. And created with intensity… knowing better than the rest of us that life is short, but anything is possible.

“I’m honored to have known you. Thank you for sharing your gift with us.”

Abloh made history as the first African-American to lead French luxury brand Louis Vuitton.

He was diagnosed with cardiac angiosarcoma – a rare, aggressive form of cancer – in 2019.

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