Fashion designer Mychael Knight has died, aged 39.
The former Project Runway contestant passed away in Atlanta, Georgia surrounded by friends and family on Wednesday (17Oct17).
Jerris Madison, the editor and photographer of Obvious Magazine, confirmed his friend’s death, and posted an official statement on Instagram on behalf of the Knight family.
“We are still processing the untimely death of our son, brother, friend, and uncle,” the note reads. “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.”
While the cause of Knight’s death has not been announced, his past Facebook posts – which have since been deleted – indicated he suffered with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), fatigue, and exhaustion.
Knight was born in Nuremberg, Germany and was raised in Montgomery, Alabama. He broke into the fashion industry in 2002 when he started work as a stylist, and first auditioned for Bravo design contest Project Runway in 2005.
The fashion star was accepted as a contestant for season three, and went on to win the Fan Favorite award and to place fourth in the overall competition.
Knight later turned his focus to fashion full time, launching his eponymous label and designing a line of custom T-shirts for the Starbucks Corporation in 2008, before unveiling lingerie company Kitty & Dick the following year. He returned to TV in 2013, when he was a contestant on the third season of Project Runway: All Stars.
Bravo’s Andy Cohen was one of the first celebrities to express his condolences, writing on Twitter, “I am so sad to hear about Mychael Knight. When he appeared on #ProjectRunway he was the sweetest guy, full of life, ambition & talent. #rip.”
Singer Keri Hilson also shared her sadness, writing, “RIP my dear old friend, Mychael Knight. Ur such a beautiful spirit. I cherish ur humble creative nature. One of the good ones, gone too soon (sic).”
While Project Runway host Heidi Klum told E! News, “My love and thoughts are with Mychael’s family. He was an extraordinary designer and a very sweet man.”