Who was Virgil Abloh? NFL players pay tribute to late designer

Virgil Abloh passed away on Sunday after battling cancer
Virgil Abloh passed away on Sunday after battling cancer

Virgil Abloh, founder of the luxury streetwear clothing brand Off-White and the artistic director for Louis Vuitton, passed away on Sunday at the age of 41. Virgil Abloh was privately battling cardiac angiosarcoma, a rare, aggressive form of cancer, since 2019.

Virgil Abloh had been a flagbearer in the fashion world for many years. When he joined Louis Vuitton in 2018, he became the label's first black artistic director. He was also one of the very few black designers to ever be at the top of one of the key French design labels. Abloh also served as the creative director for Grammy-winning artist Kanye West for many years.

Abloh's official Instagram page announced his passing, stating that "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."

Bernard Arnault, CEO of LVMH (Louis Vuitton's parent company) stated that "we are all shocked by this terrible news. Virgil was not only a genius designer and a visionary, he was also a man with a beautiful soul and great wisdom."

Virgil Abloh was born to parents who worked in a paint factory. He earned a degree in civil engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a master's in architecture from the Illinois Institute of Technology. His favorite fashion brands growing up were skateboard companies like Santa Cruz and Droors. He met Kanye West while working at a screen-printing store in Chicago and the two would go on to intern at LVMH brand Fendi.

The music and fashion industries aren't the only ones that Virgil Abloh has left an impact on. Many within the NFL have paid tribute to the legendary fashion icon, and many have worn his labels and lines in press conferences and to games. Virgil Abloh even incorporated football helmets into an Off-White fashion show once.

Here's how a section of the NFL, including Odell Beckham Jr. and Julian Edelman, paid its tribute to Abloh after his demise:

Other athletes and icons, including Shaun White, Kylian Mbappe and Lenny Kravitz, also took to Twitter to pay tribute to Virgil Abloh after his sudden passing.

Many more NFL players and personnel are certain to flood Twitter with condolences and tributes to Virgil Abloh after their games end and they get back to the locker rooms. Abloh's legacy will carry on throughout the 2021 NFL season as many players will surely don designs representing Abloh's work as a tribute.

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