PANAJI(PTI): Internationally-famed fashion designer Wendell Rodricks passed away at his residence at Colvale on Wednesday evening. He was 59.
Deputy Superintendent of Police (Mapusa) Gajanan Prabhudesai said information about Rodricks' death was received around 6:30 pm and a team was immediately sent to his residence.
He said Rodricks died after collapsing at his residence, adding the cause of death is yet to be ascertained.
A Padma Shri award-winning designer and known for infusing modern aesthetics with traditional Goan influences, Rodricks was also an author, environmentalist and gay rights activist.
Born in Mumbai, Rodricks studied fashion designing in the US and France from 1986 to 1988. He is often credited for pioneering the concept of 'resort wear' when it was not a popular idea in India.
He worked on the planning of the first ever Lakme India Fashion Week and often showcased his collections at the fashion weeks.
In 2010, he revived the weaving of the traditional Goan Kunbi sari and showcased the design at the Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week.
Chief Minister Pramod Sawant, leader of the Opposition Digambar Kamat and Health Minister Vishwajit Rane have condoled the untimely death of Wendell Rodricks.
In a tweet, the Chief Minister said, "Deeply shocked and saddened by the sudden demise of wold renowned fashion designer and a niz Goenkar Padma Shri Wendell Rodricks. His exemplary work has left an indelible mark in the world of fashion."
Kamat said, "I am deeply shocked to hear about the passing away of acclaimed fashion designer Padma Shri Wendell Rodricks. His contribution to the fashion industry is immense and he was recognised internationally as one of the ace designers from India."
I had an opportunity to attend his shows on various occasions. He had a creative mind. He was also ambassador of peace and harmony. He was pioneer of launching resort wear and eco-friendly fashion.
In 2010 he revived the traditional attire of Goan Kunbi saree. Congress President Sonia Gandhi, Priyanka Gandhi and former President of India had become patrons of his campaign which supported the weavers.
His writings with lot of research on Goa's costumes will help the exponents in fashion industry in the years to come. He was a proud Goemkar and always stood for the cause of our motherland Goa, Kamat said offering his heartfelt condolences to his family.
Vishwajit tweeted, "Deeply saddened to hear about the sudden demise of my very good friend and designer, Wendell Rodricks. His excellency in his work and skills are irreplaceable and shall always be cherished. We will truly miss him. My heartfelt condolences to his family and dear ones".
Fashion Design Council of India chairman Sunil Sethi said Rodricks' sudden death due to heart attack has shocked to the fashion industry.
"I still can't believe that he is dead. I spoke to him just two days ago and invited him for our finale. I was also working with him on his museum. He has died too young."
"Entire fashion industry is shocked. I got to know that he suffered a heart attack. People did notice a little change in his health, but nobody realised it will lead to this. It's too sudden. He was a legend," Sethi told PTI on the sidelines of the ongoing Lakme Fashion Week in Mumbai.
A tribute was also paid to Rodricks at the fashion event later in the evening.
Union Textiles Minister Smriti Irani also condoled his death.
"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," she tweeted.
Apart from fashion, Rodricks was a known travel enthusiast with he and his partner Jerome Marrel travelling to many countries. He was also an author, having written books like "Moda Goa - History and Style", his memoir "The
Green Room" and "Poskem: Goans in the Shadows".
Rodricks was working on his passion project Moda Goa Museum, which is dedicated to the history of Goan costumes, and had posted about it just three days ago.
Fashion designer Rina Dhaka said she was "devastated" to know about Rodricks' passing away.
"I had known him since '90s. It is a great loss. He was a brave man and always vocal about his views and worked a lot for the local people of Goa," Dhaka said.
Designer Samant Chauhan said, "It's a very sad news. I remember how inspiring he was, a perfectionist. I really admired him both as a person and a designer."
"Shocked and heartbroken. Much too young to go like this. Just can't believe it," tweeted Soni Razdan.
"Really sad to hear about the passing of Wendell Rodricks, fashion designer, activist, a son of Goa and a wonderful human being," musician Ehsaan Noorani tweeted.
Director Madhur Bhandarkar, in whose film "Fashion" Rodricks had a role, said the designer's death came as a shock.
Designer Rahul Mishra called Rodricks' death a "personal loss".
"He was always encouraging. When I first showcased in Gen Next, he gave me a standing ovation, very few people in the fashion industry support you the way he did. He always promoted young talent and had a great vision," Mishra said.