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Frank Ocean pays tribute to Virgil Abloh as music world mourns designer’s death

BTS, Drake, Kanye West, Finneas and Pharrell have also paid tribute to the Off-White founder

By Hollie Geraghty

Virgil Abloh wears a white suit and hat and fist bumps Frank Ocean's prop doll on a red carpet
Frank Ocean and Virgil Abloh. (Photo: Instagram).

Frank Ocean has paid tribute to Virgil Abloh, describing the American fashion designer and DJ as a “hero” following news of his death yesterday (November 28), aged 41.

The Louis Vuitton artistic director and founder of the Off-White label died of cancer following a private battle after a diagnosis in 2019. 

Taking to Instagram Stories, Ocean recalled a conversation with the designer when he asked how he was able to juggle all his responsibilities as a father and husband.

“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 also reflected on Abloh’s relationship with Ocean’s late younger brother, who died in a car crash last year aged 18.

“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,” he said.

Later in the statement he continued: “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.”

Ocean also shared how Abloh supported him as an artist.

“When I went to Miami and you played a set on the beach in 2016 you played ‘White Ferrari’ – a song with no drums or bars anywhere to be found lol – and started a sing-along,” he wrote. “When I played demos of shit I was working on or showed you ‘Homer’ way before it was ready you put the battery in my back.”

“My fam was proud of you like you were our family. 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.”

Drake also paid tribute to the late designer, writing on Instagram alongside pictures of them together: “My plan is to touch the sky 1000 more times for you…love you eternally brother thank you for everything.”

BTS tweeted: “RIP Virgil Abloh , you will be missed. It was an honor to work with you. A true creative genius.”

Kanye West’s Sunday Service Collective choir shared a tribute rendition of Adele’s ‘Easy On Me’ captioning a post on Instagram in tribute to Abloh’s wife Shannon, and children Grey and Lowe, and the Abloh family.

Finneas tweeted that he was “sad to hear” about the passing of Abloh who was “an inspiration to so many and of course an inspiration to me”.

Pharrell also said that his “heart is broken” in a social media statement.