KEY POINTS

  • Virgil Abloh was diagnosed with cardiac angiosarcoma in 2019
  • He battled the condition quietly while working with fashion brands
  • He is survived by his wife Shannon and his kids Lowe and Grey

Virgil Abloh, the esteemed founder of Off-White and artistic director of Louis Vuitton’s menswear, passed away Sunday after a long battle with cancer. He was 41. 

The passing of the fashion designer and entrepreneur was confirmed by the French fashion house. Parent company LVMH told Deadline that Abloh succumbed to a “rare” and “aggressive” type of heart cancer called cardiac angiosarcoma. 

A post announcing his demise was also shared on Abloh’s Instagram account. The statement detailed how the designer opted to privately deal with the disease ever since he was diagnosed with it back in 2019. 

“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,” a part of the statement read. 

Specific details about his condition were not disclosed, but according to the National Cancer Institute, cardiac angiosarcoma may develop on the outer surface of the heart, within one or more chambers of the organ or within the heart’s muscle tissue. 

The signs and symptoms of the condition include chest pain, fatigue, shortness of breath, palpitations and the swelling of feet, legs, ankles and abdomen, as per Stanford Health Care

So how rare is the condition? The National Cancer Institute said that one in five million is diagnosed with angiosarcoma each year in the U.S.

Abloh was considered a barrier-breaking Black designer as he was able to emerge at the top of the luxury brand industry. Apart from his work at Louis Vuitton and Off-White, he was also a prolific collaborator of brands like Nike, according to New York Times

“We are heartbroken by the news of Virgil Abloh’s passing. Since 2016, Virgil has been a beloved member of the Nike, Jordan and Converse family. He was a creative force who shared a passion for challenging the status quo, pushing forward a new vision while inspiring multiple generations along the way,” Nike tweeted

“We are all shocked after this terrible new. Virgil was not only a genius designer, a visionary, he was also a man with a beautiful soul and great wisdom,” LVMH CEO Bernard Arnault said in a statement posted on Twitter

Abloh is survived by his wife Shannon and his kids Lowe and Grey, as well as his parents Nee and Eunice and his sister Edwina.

Virgil Abloh Pictured: Virgil Abloh attends The 2021 Met Gala Celebrating In America: A Lexicon Of Fashion at Metropolitan Museum of Art on September 13, 2021 in New York City. Photo: John Shearer/WireImage/Getty Images