Veteran fashion designer, gay rights activist and Padma Shri awardee Wendell Rodricks passed away in Panaji, Goa on Wednesday evening at the age of 60. He was suffering from a prolonged illness, to which he succumbed at 5 p.m. on Wednesday. Sources close to the family said that the funeral will take place at 4 p.m. on Thursday. Wendell Rodricks was a beloved face in the fashion industry who was loved by friends and competitors alike. Years ahead of his time, he was the pioneer of echo fashion in the country and can be credited with introducing the concept of resort wear in India.

Rodricks was hailed as the champion of minimalism on the fashion runway. He was involved in conceptualising the first Lakme India Fashion Week, held in 2000. The first Indian designer to open the Dubai Fashion Week in 2001, Rodricks was also invited to present his creations at the Paris Pret a Porter salon in 2007.

As the news came out in the public domain, Bollywood celebrities and his fans took to social media to mourn his sudden demise. Celebs like Anushka Sharma, Esha Gupta, Arjun Rampal, Madhur Bhandarkar, Diana Penty, Neha Dhupia, Malaika Arora, Amrita Arora, Sophie Choudry and more expressed their grief on their respective accounts.

Anushka wrote, “Woke up in NZ to the sad news of Wendell Rodricks having passed away in his sleep. He was one of the most iconic & original designers in fashion & A champion for LGBT rights. He had given me an opportunity to close his fashion week show in Mumbai after spotting me in Bangalore at a fashion show and was gracious, kind & encouraging. He was one of the reasons I had the courage to move to Mumbai from Bangalore to pursue modelling when I was just 18 years old. RIP Wendell 💜 My love and prayers for Jerome and the rest of his family and friends 🙏”.

 
View this post on Instagram
 

A post shared by AnushkaSharma1588 (@anushkasharma) on


Esha Gupta wrote, “You were pure gold, and that’s your legacy… Wendell ♥️ make heaven your runway 🖤 RIP”.

 
View this post on Instagram
 

A post shared by Esha Gupta🌎 (@egupta) on


Arjun wrote, “This is such sad sad news, a beautiful human and such a talented designer, the fashion industry and the world has lost today. It was such joy whenever I met him. His smile always made me smile…you will be missed Wendell. #ripwendellrodricks”.

 
View this post on Instagram
 

A post shared by Arjun (@rampal72) on

Malaika Arora who served as a muse for Rodricks took to Twitter to post a heartfelt message and a picture of both of them. “A master couturier and his muse ♥️….. RIP 🙏 our dearest @wendellrodricks …. I first sat n cried , n then I sat alone n smiled n laughed , jus thinkin of all the beautiful beautiful memories n moments we shared”, she wrote.

Actor Pooja Bedi wrote: “To my dearest @Wendellrodricks @jeromegoa. It’s way too soon to say goodbye…. cheers to an adorable, talented, positive & loving human being who truly lived life on his own terms!!! I will MISS U.”

Smriti Irani condoled the death of Rodricks on Twitter and wrote, “Shocked to hear about the untimely demise of Wendell Rodricks, one of India’s most renowned designers. My heartfelt condolences to his loved ones. May his soul rest in peace.”

Madhur Bhandarkar in whose 2008 film Rodricks played himself in a cameo, posted his condolence on Twitter. “Shocked to hear about the sudden demise of fashion designer, Wendell Rodricks, My heartfelt condolences to his family & dear ones. We will truly miss him. RIP.”

Meanwhile, ANI reported, the family Rodricks put up a sign outside his residence that says ‘LET WENDELL REST IN PEACE NO VISITORS PLEASE’. The message written on a piece of white paper was seen stuck on the door of his house.