Following the sad death of Virgil Abloh on Sunday, tributes from the music and fashion worlds poured in.
After a two-year struggle with cardiac angiosarcoma, a rare form of cancer, the legendary fashion designer died at the age of 41. Friends including Kanye West, Frank Ocean, and Drake paid tribute to him, sharing a sequence of images of him and Virgil over the years.
“For you, my plan is to touch the sky 1000 more times…
“Thank you for everything,” Drake added in his caption, “loving you forever brother.”
Drake’s personalized Patek Philippe watch, which he notably sang about on “Life Is Good” (“Virgil had that Patek on my wrist goin’ nuts”), and his huge Boeing 767 airplane “Air Drake” were both designed by Virgil.
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Frank Ocean, the reclusive musician, took to social media to pay respect to the Louis Vuitton artistic director and Off-White founder, whom he met at the Met Gala in September.
“I phoned V in 2018, I guess it was, and asked him how he could play hundreds of gigs a year, do several fashion lines a year, be a father and a spouse, and respond EVERYONE’s emails with passion, emoticons, and encouragement and seemingly… with easy,” he wrote.
“I don’t recall exactly how he answered, but I’m sure whatever he said was quotable… he was always quotable.” But the gist of his response was that he wanted to live to the fullest extent of his abilities… which proved impossible today because he was BEYOND.”
Virgil dressed his younger brother, Ryan Breaux, for his prom, he said. “I’m going to miss you.” Ryan was GEEKed when you purchased him several things from your new LV collection for his prom. Ocean, whose 18-year-old sibling died in a vehicle accident in August 2020, stated, “I couldn’t convince him to take it off.”
“I never said anything when my brother died because it was too much for me to bear, but he adored you and looked up to you.” He was enrolled in a fashion school and all of that. He aspired to be a fashion designer. My family felt as proud of you as if you were a member of our own.”
Ocean recalled Virgil performing his Blonde song “White Ferrari” on the beach in Miami in 2016 (“a song with no percussion or bass anywhere in sight”) and getting the crowd to sing along. Virgil was also a fan of Frank’s high-end firm, Homer.
“I know loss is love that you don’t get to express therefore this is an attempt at expressing it,” he wrote at the end of his moving tribute. V, I adore you. “You’re a hero,” says the narrator.
Kanye West dedicated this weekend’s session of Sunday Service to his late friend shortly after word of Abloh’s death broke.
In his tribute, the choir performed a moving performance of Adele’s “Easy on Me.” “Be gentle with me, father. “I’m still your child,” they sang, “and I need a chance to experience your love.”
“IN LOVING MEMORY OF VIRGIL ABLOH, THE CREATIVE DIRECTOR OF DONDA,” a message displayed at the end of the webcast.
Other musicians, including Pharrell, Justin Timberlake, Gunna, Quavo, and Offset, as well as Virgil’s fashion and art buddies Marc Jacobs, Kaws, and Takashi Murakami, expressed their sorrow.