12/02/2020 8:37 PM IST | Updated 13/02/2020 8:05 PM IST

Ace Designer Wendell Rodricks Dies At 59 In Goa, Tributes Pour In

The exact cause of the celebrated designer's death is not known.

Rubina A. Khan via Getty Images
MUMBAI, INDIA - JULY 12: (EXCLUSIVE COVERAGE) Wendell Rodricks launches his new book "Poskem - Goans In The Shadows" at Tamasha on July 12, 2017 in Mumbai, India. (Photo by Rubina A. Khan/Getty Images)

Goa-based fashion designer Wendell Rodricks passed away early Wednesday evening at his residence in Colvale, Goa. He was 59.

The exact cause of his death isn’t known yet.

A giant in the field of Indian fashion, Rodricks was a big champion of LGBTQ causes, eco-friendly designs and dissented against deforestation in Goa. He was awarded the Padma Shri in 2014.

In March 2019, he had said that he was receiving threats from PWD minister Sudin Dhavalikar over his fight to save a 100-year-old chapel and ancient mango trees. 

Born in a Goan Catholic family, Rodricks grew up in Mumbai and studied at Mahim’s St. Michael’s High School. He is believed to have saved up money to study fashion designing in Los Angeles and Paris.

Other than introducing the concept of resort fashion, Rodricks is credited with reviving the kunbi saari, a traditional Goan attire and being part of the khadi movement which he championed in fashion events globally. 

The designer was also known for spotting Deepika Padukone and encouraging her to take up modelling, a career choice that’d eventually lead her to the movies.

In a January 2017 to Femina, Rodricks spoke about retiring as designer and handing over the reins of his label to his protege, Schulen Fernandes.

He had said, “I don’t miss being behind the wheel at all. I can finally dedicate time to things that I’ve been waiting to do. The work on the museum is underway (Rodricks was turning his Goa home into a space dedicated to Goan costumes). The dogs are taking it well but my three cats are giving me grief about the move! I would like to write a lot more. My next book Poskem is about Goa. I hope I’ll be able to turn it into a movie like Chetan Bhagat. I’d like to teach a lot more too.”

Many people expressed their shock at Rodricks’ sudden death,