Following the shocking death of Virgil Abloh on Sunday, tributes poured in from the worlds of music and fashion.
The iconic fashion designer died at 41 after a two-year battle with cardiac angiosarcoma, a rare form of cancer. He was remembered fondly with tributes from friends including Kanye West, Frank Ocean, and Drake, who shared a series of photos of him and Virgil throughout the years.
“My plan is to touch the sky 1000 more times for you…love you eternally brother thank you for everything,” Drake wrote in his caption.
Virgil designed Drake’s giant Boeing 767 jet “Air Drake” and his custom Patek Philippe watch, which he famously rapped about on “Life Is Good” (“Virgil got that Patek on my wrist goin’ nuts”).
The reclusive Frank Ocean returned to social media with a loving tribute to the Louis Vuitton artistic director and Off-White founder, who he saw at the Met Gala in September.
“In 2018, I believe it was, I called V and asked him how it was possible to play hundreds of shows a year and do numerous fashion collections a year and be a father and a husband and return EVERYONE’s texts with enthusiasm and emojis and encouragement and seemingly… with ease,” he wrote.
“I cannot remember how he responded verbatim but I’m sure it was quotable whatever he said .. he was always quotable. But the gist of his response was that he was interested in living and living to the maximum extent of his level .. which proved to be impossible today because he was BEYOND.”
He recalled Virgil dressing his younger brother, Ryan Breaux, for his prom. “I’ll miss you. When Ryan went to his prom you got him some pieces from your new collection at LV and he was GEEKEd. Couldn’t get him to take it off,” said Ocean, whose 18-year-old sibling died in a car crash in August 2020.
“When my brother passed, I never said anything because it was way too much but he loved you and really looked up to you. He was going to fashion school and everything. He wanted to be a designer. My family was proud of you like you were our family.”
Ocean remembered Virgil playing his Blonde song “White Ferrari” on the beach in Miami in 2016 (“A song with no drums or bass anywhere to be found”) and got the crowd to sing along. Virgil was also supportive of Frank’s luxury company, Homer.
He ended his touching tribute, writing, “I know grief is love that you don’t get to express so this is an attempt at expressing it. Love you V. You’re a hero.”
Shortly after news broke of Abloh’s passing, Kanye West dedicated this weekend’s installment of Sunday Service to his late friend.
The choir delivered a stirring rendition of Adele’s “Easy on Me” in his honor. “Go easy on me, father. I am still your child, and I need a chance to feel your love around,” they sang.
A message appeared at the end of the livestream: “IN LOVING MEMORY OF VIRGIL ABLOH, THE CREATIVE DIRECTOR OF DONDA.”
Other artists mourned the devastating loss, including Pharrell, Justin Timberlake, Gunna, Quavo, and Offset, as well as Virgil’s friends in fashion and art such as Marc Jacobs, Kaws, and Takashi Murakami.