Karl Lagerfeld, German fashion designer and the creative force behind Chanel, has died today at the age of 85. Though there was a cause of concern regarding the designer’s health for weeks, he was admitted to the American Hospital of Paris in Neuilly-sur-Seine yesterday for an unspecified illness. In addition to his work at Chanel, the designer also served as creative director of the Italian fur and leather goods fashion house Fendi and his own self-titled fashion label. Here’s what we know regarding the designer’s cause of death and diminishing health.
Lagerfeld’s ill health spanned for weeks causing him to miss two Chanel shows in Paris on January 22—his first ever non-appearances in the history of his three-decade reign at the iconic fashion house. Reports had already begun flooding in regarding Lagerfeld’s increasingly frail look in recent months, though following his absence from the second show, the company issued a statement explaining that he had been “feeling tired.”
“For the traditional greeting at the end of the show, Mr. Lagerfeld, Artistic Director of Chanel, who was feeling tired, asked Virginie Viard, Director of the Creative Studio of the House, to represent him and greet the guests alongside the bride,” read the brand’s statement.
Mirror claims that Lagerfeld was rushed to hospital amid a secret battle with pancreatic cancer, though at press time those reports remain unconfirmed. Their anonymous source claims that the designer “hadn’t gone on about his illness, but battled it very bravely. Karl was very proud of his fitness and healthy living, so the pancreatic cancer came as a huge shock.”
His official Instagram posted the photo below with a touching tribute of the fashion icon: “The House of KARL LAGERFELD shares, with deep emotion and sadness, the passing of its creative director, Karl Lagerfeld, on February 19, 2019, in Paris, France. He was one of the most influential and celebrated designers of the 21st century and an iconic, universal symbol of style. Driven by a phenomenal sense of creativity, Karl was passionate, powerful and intensely curious. He leaves behind an extraordinary legacy as one of the greatest designers of our time, and there are no words to express how much he will be missed.”
In an interview with Numéro last year, Lagerfeld said he’d “had every test under the sun and they can’t find anything wrong.” He called himself a “machine” and said about the aging process: “If you do it by avoiding excess, and in great luxury, it is effectively quite bearable.”
In 2012, Lagerfeld was asked about death by The Cut and he revealed his thoughts on what dying must be like. Lagerfeld said, “I think it’s like a sleep where you don’t wake up. You don’t remember before, you don’t remember after. The only thing is I don’t want to be seen dead, huh?” A grand public viewing or funeral is most likely out of the question for the fashion legend.