Louis Vuitton boss Virgil Abloh dies aged 41

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption The label marks another death in fashion in recent months, after creative director Alber Elbaz died in March

The influential creative director of Louis Vuitton, Virgil Abloh, has died of cancer at the age of 41.

In a statement, Vuitton praised Abloh as “one of the most important figures of contemporary fashion”.

The label continued: “He developed a customised individualised approach to the way Vuitton expresses itself, and is always inspired by his personal experience, a creative energy that inspires the clients and the Vuitton team.”

US-born Abloh was found by paramedics and pronounced dead at a hospital in South Korea on Monday.

His family has confirmed his death and released a statement to Us Weekly.

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Abloh came from a humble background and said he never sought fame

“Every day Virgil lived a double life. In public he was a strong, charismatic, brilliant genius, but behind closed doors he was a deeply sensitive, caring human being,” it said.

“With no words at his disposal, he worked with his hands to solve problems that transcended race and culture, always with a creativity that brought joy to millions.”

Abloh was discovered by designer Marc Jacobs, one of the founders of Louis Vuitton, in 2013.

In his statement, the French fashion house said: “In the past four years, he was at the helm of another important title at Vuitton, as artistic director of menswear. His innovations were unparalleled.”

Abloh came from humble beginnings and said he never sought fame.

“The only reason I started was because I wanted to show the world, that a kid from the streets could do it, and that the man sitting right next to me could do it, too,” he said in a 2015 interview with Vogue.

“My numbers and my social network allowed me to start without much struggle. And if you look at the fashion world, there are many huge brands and these things are influenced from outside the industry, from the studios, from urban areas.”

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption The designer is credited with reviving Louis Vuitton’s menswear

His platform helped him break through in the fashion world and he was also credited with reviving Louis Vuitton’s menswear.

Abloh left the house after less than a year to set up his own brand, Off-White, and launched a collection with the house of Louis Vuitton in 2018.

His “crazy, twisted and unmatched culture”, as his biographer Roxane Gay described him, led to some of fashion’s biggest figures, including John Galliano, on fashion’s A-list.

The New York Times described him as having a “nerdish sensibility and a remarkable, intimidating determination to explore the things he cared about”.

He is survived by his wife, Elle Hasti, and their four children.

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