LEWIS HAMILTON paid an emotional tribute to Louis Vuitton fashion designer and close friend Virgil Abloh following his death aged 41.
The Formula One world champion, 36, took to social media on Monday with a lengthy post.
Hamilton – chasing an eighth world F1 title next month – shared a picture of the pair posing together, the two embracing and a short video hugging at an event.
In a heartfelt message, the British racing driver wrote to his 25.4million Instagram followers: “I’ve spent the last day trying to think of what to say, but words fail me as I try to accept the reality of Virgil’s passing.
“Yesterday’s news left me in shock. Virgil and I were just texting a couple weeks ago about working together, collaborating and dreaming. One minute you’re here and the next you’re gone.
“Virgil showed us that dreams, no matter how big they are, can always be turned into reality. He was a visionary, somebody that forever pushed boundaries and never let anything or anyone hold him back.
“He was always the kindest in the room and in his short time, was a true game-changer and inspired so many of us to see fashion in a different light.
“An icon and legend that will forever live on — we will never forget what he did for Black culture.
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“I am so entirely grateful to him for always including me, seeing me and supporting me.
“My thoughts and prayers are with his loving wife Shannon and his two children Lowe and Grey. There’s nothing more precious than time.”
Abloh founded fashion brand Off-White in 2012, collaborated closely with Kanye West and was also the artistic director of Louis Vuitton’s menswear collection from 2018 until his death.
With Hamilton also passionate about fashion, the pair struck up a friendship.
In addition to being a fashion designer, Abloh was also an entrepreneur and DJ.
He earned a Civil Engineering degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and went on to get a Master’s Degree in Architecture at the Illinois Institute of Technology.
But American Abloh had secretly been suffering with a rare, aggressive form of cancer, cardiac angiosarcoma, for the past two years.
And after a brave battle, he passed away at the weekend as the devastating news was announced on his Instagram page.
Tributes continue to pour in for Abloh, with the Instagram post garnering more than 5million likes and 157,000 comments.
Designer Marc Jacobs commented on the Instagram post: “I am so sorry to read this. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family and loved ones.
“May you Rest In Peace and Power dear Virgil.”