Mychael Knight, an Atlanta-based designer who appeared on Project Runway, where he was a fan favorite, has died young at age 39.
According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Knight “represented Georgia on Season 3 of Bravo’s Project Runway.” Knight died on October 17, 2017, and he was surrounded by loved ones when he passed away.
Knight was remembered for his caring and generous spirit, as well as for his fashion artistry.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Knight’s Cause of Death Is Not Yet Clear but He Was Being Treated for Intestinal Issues
According to the Atlanta newspaper, how Knight died is not yet clear. However, he had been hospitalized since September, according to AJC.
TMZ reported, “We’re told he’d been getting treatment for intestinal issues when he passed at around 7:30 AM.”
He had shared his struggles with IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) recently, writing that he suffered chronic abdominal pain, a “leaky gut,” extreme fatigue, and exhaustion. He wrote that he had struggled with IBS for five years.
“This issue is SERIOUS,” he wrote. “It has completely taken over my life.” He acknowledged that he had lost an “EXTREME amount of weight” and said he had been “living in torment.” He said that he did not have cancer.
He was looking extremely frail in his final runway show.
ObviousMag broke the news, reporting, “American Fashion Designer, and Project Runway alum, Mychael Knight has passed away. He was 39 years old. Mychael died at 7:25 am EST outside of Atlanta, GA on October 17, 2017, surrounded by his loving family and friends. His family asks that their privacy is respected during this time of grieving.”
2. Knight’s Family Described Him as ‘Generous’ & ‘So Full of Life’
In a statement to ObviousMag, Knight’s family called his death “untimely” and said they were still processing it.
“We are still processing the untimely death of our son, brother, friend, and uncle. Mychael meant everything to us and we loved him dearly. He was generous and so full of life. This is how we choose to remember his legacy,” the Knight family wrote, according to the publication.
On Facebook, Knight’s last post was about a fashion show in September. He described himself as “Son. Brother. Uncle. Friend. Fashion Designer. A Black Man.” The Facebook page says that Knight was living in Los Angeles and was the owner of Mychael Knight, Inc.
Recent photos of him with family also show him looking very thin lately, but the posts about his health are no longer up. In August, he was urging fans to come to a fashion show and after party for it. He had also recently posted about family. On Mother’s Day, he wrote, “You are absolutely THE ONE! Celebrating you for all the love, support, & nurturing you give me and our family. #HappyMothersDay Pamela Williams-Knight! Love You To Life ✨💙”
3. Knight Was Remembered as a ‘True Southern Gentleman’
In a lengthy blog post announcing Knight’s death on ObviousMag, author Jerris Madison wrote, about meeting “Mychael in Philly almost 10 years ago. We both were booked to speak on a fashion panel for Radio One. We instantly clicked and became friends. He was a true Southern Gentleman and had no problems telling you that he was from the South. No matter what situation or industry event we attended, he always remained himself. I admired that about him. He loved his family so much and others, it reflected. He was a big Momma’s Boy, his mother was one of his best friends.”
Madison continued, “When I lost my leg due to a rare form of bone cancer, Mychael helped me get my confidence back. I once complained how designers aren’t making clothes for people like me. Mychael’s immediate response was, ‘I got you! Give me a few days to sketch something for you.’”
He was still designing almost until the end.
According to AJC, “Knight’s Spring/Summer fashion collection titled ‘Mercy & Grace’ featured colorful skirts, dresses and shorts that fans seemed to love. His designs have appeared on celebrities ranging from Sherri Shepherd to Iggy Azalea.”
4. Knight Placed Fourth on Project Runway & Was Born in Germany
According to AJC, “Knight, an Alabama native who was born in Germany, studied at Georgia Southern University and worked on the local fashion scene before trying out for Project Runway. He didn’t make it the first time, but in 2006, he was granted a slot on Season 3 and quickly became a fan favorite.”
He placed fourth in Season 3 and “went on to launch several fashion collections including ‘Kitty & Dick’ which he previewed in Atlanta at a 2008 runway show,” reported the newspaper.
5. Knight Won a Fan Favorite Award During the Project Runway Season & Once Designed His Own Fragrance
Although he didn’t win the season, Knight did make a lasting impression on many fans.
“Knight was famous in the fashion world after his successful run on season 3 of ‘Runway’ … going on to launch his own lines of clothing and lingerie. He also once designed for Starbucks, and even created his own fragrance brand, MajK,” TMZ reported, adding, “Knight placed fourth during his season on ‘Runway,’ and won the Fan Favorite Award as well.”