George Kolasa, a longtime executive at a luxury fashion company, has died of an aggressive brain tumor. He was 57.
His death was announced on Wednesday his Instagram pagewhere he had spent the past year chronicling his battle with glioblastoma multiforme.
“It is with broken hearts that we share the news of George’s death,” the post reads, accompanied by two photos of Kolasa. “He left as he had lived – in peace, love, light, gratitude and with Justin by his side.”
“GEORGE WILLIAM KOLASA – YOU RAISED US ALL HIGHER. ❤️,” the message continued. “George wanted nothing more than to continue his mission to fight rare cancers.”
Mourners are asked to donate Team George Kolasa at Cycle For Survival, an indoor cycling event in partnership with Equinox and Memorial Sloan Kettering aimed at raising awareness of rare cancers.
His husband Justin Tarquinio was also touching Instagram post Wednesday.
“My dearest George… how happy am I that you chose me,” he wrote in part.
Throughout his career, Kolasa has brought his marketing genius to brands such as Ralph Lauren, Burberry, Karl Lagerfeld and Tommy Hilfiger.
He was diagnosed in February 2022 after a sailing trip to Florida where he felt his balance was off and the left side of his body was paralyzed, sources said Cycle for Survival page.
Doctors discovered he had a brain tumor the size of a grapefruit, which later turned out to be malignant.
Typically, those diagnosed with glioblastoma have 12 to 15 months to live Penn Medicine. These are usually very aggressive tumors that grow into the surrounding tissue of the brain.
“It has been almost a year and a half since my diagnosis, I have completed radiation and chemotherapy treatment,” Kolasa wrote on his Cycle for Survival page.
“My journey with glioblastoma continues. Some days I feel like myself, other days it’s harder to see the connections. I still can’t believe I have brain cancer. However, in what must be the darkest of times, I have never been filled with more hope, light and energy as I am surrounded by love.”
Kolasa has become a “touchstone for cancer patients, survivors and their families” as he has been extremely open about his battle with the disease. according to WWD. He also became a leader and tried to help patients who did not have cancer in any way he could.
in a (n Interview with Vogue Last year he opened up about how his life had changed – but his spirit never seemed to let up.
“Gratitude is such an important word to me,” he told the outlet. “I’m so grateful to be sitting here today and talking to you about this.”
“To share my goal and mission to beat rare cancers,” he continued. “Whatever the rest of my life will be and as long as I can do it, I want to raise lots of money to fund new studies and research. Now it is my calling – to stay kind in all this and to help others.”
His friend and Bravo producer Andy Cohen paid a loving tribute to Kolasa on Wednesday on Instagram.
“Inspirational might seem like an odd choice of words, but George was so at peace with himself and what ought to be – I daresay he found joy in something decidedly UNjoyful as much as he could,” Cohen wrote in part . “But that’s what George was.”
“The love he shared with his husband Justin lifted everyone who knew her,” the message continued. “He wanted his legacy to be his contribution to the fight against rare cancers, so I’m including the link to his fundraiser in my bio. Life is so precious. I feel like George was accidentally taken out of line and showed us all what it’s like to live with courage and light.”
According to WWD, Kolasa leaves behind Tarquinio and a brother.