Keith Hufnagel, NYC skateboarding legend and founder of the immensely popular streetwear brand HUF Worldwide, has passed away at the age of 46.
Hufnagel was a veritable titan in the ’80s and ’90s New York City and San Francisco skateboarding scenes, and he rose to popularity quickly for his self-made merch branded after his graffiti tag: HUF ONE. The first HUF store opened in San Francisco’s Tenderloin District in 2002, initially stocking multiple streetwear brands but eventually moving towards exclusively selling the HUF in-house brand.
HUF would go on to become a massively and internationally popular skate brand, cementing Hufnagel’s status as a skate and streetwear behemoth. His passing after a two-and-a-half-year battle with brain cancer was announced in a statement from HUF Worldwide:
We are absolutely heartbroken to deliver the news today that HUF founder Keith Hufnagel has passed away. Keith battled brain cancer for the past 2.5 years. And though he beat the odds and fought back much longer than his diagnosis permitted, he ultimately and unfortunately lost the fight.
Keith was not only the ‘HUF’nagel in HUF. He was the heart and soul of this brand. He built and brought together a community of people like no one else could. Keith paved the way for all of us – as a respected professional skateboarder, shop owner, brand founder, footwear and apparel designer, creative director, and industry leader. He showed us how to do it, and how do it right.
Keith loved skateboarding and the culture around it. He did things his way and did them for the right reasons. He inspired so many of us across the globe. But above anything else, Keith loved and supported the people around him. He would do anything for his friends, family and children. He passionately wanted to see others succeed. And we all loved him for it.
Keith’s legacy will continue to live on at HUF. Today, tomorrow and forever.
Rest in peace, Keith.
Keith’s legendary status is only cemented by acknowledgments and condolences from massive skate entities such as the Olympic USA skateboarding team, The Berrics, and more. Even Tony Hawk, a true godfather of modern skating, expressed his love for Hufnagel in a Facebook post, stating “I am thankful to have spent time with him during my Lakai days; he was the catalyst and my biggest advocate for joining the team. Thank you Huf for all of the good times and constant inspiration. Skateboarding is collectively mourning today.”
Be sure to check out HUF’s statement down below. You can also watch a late ’90s video of Hufnagel tearing up the streets of San Francisco in an old video from FTC.