Kanye West, Drake, Pharrell and more react to Virgil Abloh’s death

A myriad of stars from the worlds of fashion, music and more offered their condolences after Abloh died of cancer on Sunday

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The death of renowned designer and generational icon Virgil Abloh, 41, sent shock waves far beyond the world of high fashion on Sunday.

For a sense of the late visionary’s monumental impact, look no further than the words of mourning from Kanye West (Ye), Drake, Pharrell Williams, Kelly Rowland, Offset, and Bruno Mars. The stars, amongst others, joined the outpouring of condolences across social media following the news that a rare and aggressive form of cancer took Abloh’s life after a private two-year battle.

Rapper Ye dedicated his latest Sunday Service concert to Abloh, his longtime friend, protege and artistic director, with a rendition of Adele’s “Easy on Me” performed by the Sunday Service choir.

As reported by Billboard, Ye shared a link on his Instagram Story which allowed fans and supporters to watch a brief live stream of the performance on Sunday afternoon.

“My plan is to touch the sky 1000 more times for you…love you eternally brother ?thank you for everything,” wrote Drake, chart-topping rapper and close friend of Abloh’s, in an Instagram post. 

The passing of the celebrated fashion designer and founder of the popular street wear label, Off White, was announced Sunday via a post on his official Instagram page.

“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,” the post read.

Virgil Abloh (pictured), Samir Bantal, Director of AMO, the research and design branch of OMA, and Rosanne Somerson, President Emerita of Rhode Island School of Design and Principal of Somerson Studio, participate in a public talk during #QatarCreates on November 4, 2021 at the National Museum of Qatar in Doha. #QatarCreates is a cultural celebration connecting the fields of art, fashion, and design through a diverse program of exhibitions, awards, public talks, and special events, all taking place in the heart of Doha. (Photo by Craig Barritt/Getty Images for Qatar Museums )

In 2018, Abloh was named men’s artistic director for Louis Vuitton – the first African American to helm a line at the company.

“It is an honor for me to accept the position of men’s artistic director for Louis Vuitton. I find the heritage and creative integrity of the house are key inspirations and will look to reference them both while drawing parallels to modern times,” Abloh said at the time.

Pharrell Williams, a rapper, singer and producer, wrote on Instagram that his “heart is broken” following Abloh’s death.

“Virgil you were a kind, generous, thoughtful creative genius,” he wrote, adding that Abloh’s “work as a human” and “work as a spiritual being will live forever.”

“Sending love and light to your wife, children, family and day ones,” he continued, “you’re with the Master now, shine.”

“???Rest In Peace Great One! Such a Visionary!???,” wrote R&B superstar Kelly Rowland.Sending my love and prayers to his family!❤️”

“Rip Virgil prayers to your family thank you for always supporting the youth always kind we just spoke bro smh,” rapper Offset tweeted .

“I love u Bro I wanna say so much but I cant right now, I recently showed u this painting I had (Mariella Angela) paint of u as 1of the biggest inspirations ever in my life which is now priceless ppl think they know me but they really don’t this was my family right here,” wrote rapper Westside Gunn on Twitter.

“Thank you for inspiring us all Great Mind,” tweeted rapper Busta Rhymes. “Thank you for such an amazing and significant contribution to Culture and all walks of life. Sending everything Divine and Universal peaceful energy to your family loved ones. Rest well King.”

“What can you say when a force like @virgilabloh is taken too soon?” singer Justin Timberlake wrote on Instagram. “You gave the world so much, in so little time. And created with intensity… knowing better than the rest of us that life is short, but anything is possible. I’m honored to have known you. Thank you for sharing your gift with us ??.”

“There’s no f***ing way ! Damn wtf !!!” tweeted hip-hop producer Mike Will Made It. “Can’t believe I’m writing this bro… RIP my brother Virgil dog , wtf !”

Nigerian singer Wizkid included a tribute to Abloh during a concert at the O2 Arena in London on Sunday.

theGrio’s Chinekwu Osakwe contributed to this report.

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