Shockwaves rippled throughout the world on Sunday (November 28) when it was announced that fashion icon Virgil Abloh had passed away. Abloh’s sudden and tragic death was announced by his family, who revealed he had been privately batting a rare and aggressive form of cancer for over two years. He was 41 years old.
A designer, artist, DJ and fashion maverick, Virgil Abloh was appointed artistic director of Louis Vuitton’s menswear collection in 2018, becoming the first Black man to hold the post. But beyond his pioneering journey in the world of high fashion, his impact was felt most prominently in Hip Hop.
Rising to fame as the creative director of Kanye West‘s Donda company, Abloh founded the influential streetwear brands Pyrex Vision, Been Trill and, most notably, Off-White, the latter of which has been name-dropped by everyone from JAY-Z and Lil Baby to Offset and Westside Gunn.
He also helped design the album covers for Kanye West’s Yeezus, Ye and JAY-Z’s Watch The Throne, G.O.O.D. Music’s Cruel Summer, 2 Chainz’s Based On a T.R.U. Story and Lil Uzi Vert’s Luv Is Rage 2, among others.
Kanye dedicated his Sunday Service to his late collaborator, which included a stirring rendition of Adele’s new single “Easy On Me.” “IN LOVING MEMORY OF VIRGIL ABLOH,” the screen read before the service began. “THE CREATIVE DIRECTOR OF DONDA.”
Ye wasn’t alone. Drake, Frank Ocean, Pharrell, Nas, Pusha T, 2 Chainz, Offset and Cardi B were among the throng of Hip Hop artists — who, in many cases, were close friends and collaborators — who mourned Abloh’s passing while honoring his life and legacy.
“My plan is to touch the sky 1000 more times for you… love you eternally brother,” Drake wrote on Instagram alongside a slideshow of photos of him and Abloh over the years. “Thank you for everything.”
Pharrell tweeted, “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 ones. You’re with the Master now, shine.”
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 ones
you’re with the Master now, shine
— Pharrell Williams (@Pharrell) November 28, 2021
Frank Ocean, meanwhile, posted a heartfelt message reminiscing on his friendship with Virgil, including the time he sparked a “White Ferrari” singalong during a DJ set and “put the battery in [his] back” when he showed him his Homer jewelry collection.
Frank also revealed Abloh blessed his younger brother Ryan (who died in a car accident at the age of 18 last year) with pieces from his Louis Vuitton collection for his high school prom. “My family was proud of you like you were our family,” he wrote.
— Frank Ocean Daily (@TeamFrankDaily) November 29, 2021
Check out more reactions to Virgil Abloh’s passing below. HipHopDX sends our condolences to his family and friends.
We were just together lovin life bringin joy to all pic.twitter.com/0nHC08Xue2
— The Chosen One : I ? YOU FRESHIE 4EVER (@KidCudi) November 29, 2021
— The Weeknd (@theweeknd) November 28, 2021
— Cardi B Russia / Fan Account (@CardiBRus) November 29, 2021