A giant in the worlds of skateboarding, sneakers and streetwear, Keith Hufnagel has died at the age of 46.
The news began making rounds earlier today and has since been confirmed by the official HUF brand Instagram account. Hufnagel had courageously battled brain cancer for the past two and a half years, outliving his original diagnosis.
"Keith was not only the ‘HUF’nagel in HUF. He was the heart and soul of this brand," reads the brand's post. "He built and brought together a community of people like no one else could."
Hufnagel grew up skating in the melting pot that was late-80s New York City, fusing elements of rock, punk and hip hop into his board and personal style. In 1992, he moved to skateboarding hotbed San Francisco in hopes of pursuing further education and a professional skate career, eventually doing the latter halfway through his freshman year of college. After a successful run on the board and a move to Los Angeles, Hufnagel had visions of taking on new challenges, specifically the idea of exploring retail back in San Francisco. In 2002, ten years after his original voyage from NYC, Hufnagel opened the doors to HUF.
HUF quickly became one of the Bay Area's go-to spaces for not only skate goods, but for streetwear and sneakers as well. Global expansion would follow, along with highly popular collaborations with Nike such as the SB Dunk High, "HufQuake" Air Force 1 and Air Max 90, "Gold Digger" SB Air Trainer 1 and more. There were also HUF projects with Adidas, Converse, Reebok and Vans.
HUF eventually shifted from co-branded product and evolved into its own lifestyle brand. To the disappointment of many, HUF's San Francisco locations closed in 2011, but spaces in Brooklyn, Dallas, Los Angeles and Japan are still in business, along with the HUF Worldwide web store.
Hufnagel is survived by his wife Mariellen and their children. The legend was remembered and celebrated by several notable figures in skate and streetwear on social media platforms.