Following the news of Virgil Abloh’s death on Sunday, people across music and fashion have taken to social media to share their tributes to the acclaimed artist and fashion designer who died at 41 after a private battle with cancer.
Among those voices was Frank Ocean, who posted a moving statement to his Instagram story remembering how Abloh was like family to him: “I know grief is love that you don’t get to express so this is an attempt at expressing it.”
“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. The pair attended the Met Gala together earlier this year. “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.”
Ocean then addresses Abloh directly, referring to him as a hero. “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,” the musician wrote, remembering his late brother Ryan, who died in a car crash last year at 18. “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 spoke of Abloh as someone who both pushed and inspired him. He recalled a set the artist played at a Miami beach in 2016 that featured his Blonde cut “White Ferrari,” a song absent of percussion or bass that sparked a singalong in the crowd, anyway. Later, Ocean talks about the support he received from Abloh for his luxury company, Homer.
Abloh’s close friends and collaborators have shown their outpouring of love since the news broke Sunday. Having heard of Abloh’s passing right before his weekly installment of Sunday Service, Kanye West dedicated this weekend’s gathering to the designer.
The service featured an altered rendition of Adele’s “Easy on Me” delivered by the Sunday Service Choir. “Go easy on me, father. I am still your child, and I need a chance to feel your love around,” they sang, adapting the chorus’ lyrics for the occasion.
Following the service, West shared the note: “In loving memory of Virgil Abloh, the creative director of Donda.” The pair worked closely together after forming a strong bond when they both served as interns at Fendi in 2009.