Thierry Mugler Underwent Many Surgeries Before He Died—Here’s His Official Cause of Death

Thierry Mugler
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Celebrities and fans around the world are saying a heartfelt au revoir to fashion mogul Thierry Mugler, who passed away at the age of 73 on January 23, 2022. But after his sudden passing, many are now curious to know Thierry Mugler’s cause of death.

Born Manfred Thierry Mugler in 1948, the future fashion icon spent his adolescence in Strasbourg, France. His father was a surgeon, while his mother was a homemaker who inspired his eye for beauty and design. As a child, Mugler had a knack for drawing and dancing, and he went on to hone those skills in school at a young age. When he was 14, he joined the ballet corps at the Opéra national du Rhin; around the same time, Mugler began taking formal interior design lessons at the Strasbourg School of Decorative Arts.

Mugler eventually moved to Paris in his early twenties, where he launched his first personal collection as a designer in 1973. The collection was called Café de Paris and quickly attracted the attention of notable fashion houses and editors. The following year, Mugler launched his Thierry Mugler label. With his label, Mugler became known for his innovative silhouettes, which featured flared shoulders, puckered or exposed waists and padded hips—an androgynous style that soon became known as “power dressing” throughout the ’80s.

His designs launched an empire in the haute couture space; one where he not only pushed the boundaries of fashion, but also featured diverse models and audiences. Mugler, who was an openly gay man, made efforts to include the LGBTQ community, as his shows frequently featured drag queens, transgender women, porn stars and models of all races and ages. His influence landed him opportunities to launch a perfume brand, serve as an artistic director and design for the likes of Lady Gaga, Beyoncé and Kim Kardashian, among others.

Thierry Mugler

Image: AP Photo/Remy de la Mauviniere.

By 2002, Mugler had largely stepped away from fashion to focus on bodybuilding and rebrand himself, taking on his given name “Manfred” after years of being known only as Thierry Mugler. “The reason I quit fashion was that I had had enough of spending time always being on my knees, making other people look amazing and fabulous,” he told The New York Times in 2010. “I used fashion to express myself as much as I could. But at some point, it was not enough.” As such, it’s clear Mugler’s life ended on his terms.

Nevertheless, many fans still have questions about what happened to Thierry Mugler in the years before his death in January 2022. For everything we know about Thierry Mugler’s cause of death, keep on reading below.

What happened to Thierry Mugler?

Manfred Thierry Mugler

Image: AP Photo/Remy de la Mauviniere.

Following reports of Thierry Mugler’s death, it’s understandable that many fans have questions about what happened to Mugler before he died—especially as photos of Thierry Mugler’s face alongside these reports show the fashion icon looking notably different compared to his appearance in the ’90s. As it turns out, the changes to Mugler’s face and nose came as a result of several accidents over the years. According to Mugler, he opted for facial reconstructive surgery after these accidents left his nose “destroyed.”

“I had several accidents. One was crashing in a Jeep, during which my nose was completely destroyed,” Mugler told Interview in 2019. “Another motorcycle accident involved steel cables, after which I had to remove a piece of metal from my leg. There was all this anesthesia and stuff, and I could never motivate myself to go back to the hospital because I’m so busy.” Mugler added, “The surgeon was screaming at me because they had to take this piece of metal out of my leg. So I said, ‘Let’s find a way to make this fun!’ I asked another surgeon if he could do some things to my chin, and then I was happy to get the bloody anesthesia.”

Mugler revealed at the time that he was satisfied with the changes to his face. “I wanted my face to represent progress. After years of being a thin, charming dancer, I wanted to be a warrior. I’ve done so much in my life. I’ve fought so much. I’m a superhero, so it’s normal to have the face of one.”

While it’s clear that his surgeries were largely cosmetic, questions still remain about Thierry Mugler’s cause of death. Read on ahead for what we know so far.

What was Thierry Mugler’s cause of death?

Thierry Mugler Spring-Summer 1999 High fashion show

Image: Bruno Pellerin / UPI Photo Service/Newscom/The Mega Agency.

Thierry Mugler passed away on January 23, 2022, at the age of 73. The designer’s team announced the tragic news on Instagram, posting an image of a black square and sharing a statement about his passing. “We are devastated to announce the passing of Mr Manfred Thierry Mugler on Sunday January 23rd 2022,” the caption read. “May his soul Rest In Peace.” While the statement did not reveal Thierry Mugler’s cause of death, his agent told AFP news agency that he died of “natural causes,” according to the BBC.

Following the news of Mugler’s death, celebrities and collaborators close to the French designer took to social media to share their shock and condolences. Casey Cadwallader, who served as the Mugler brand’s artistic director, reacted to the news with a heartfelt post on Instagram. “Manfred, I am so honored to have known you and to work within your beautiful world,” he captioned a photo of the icon. “You changed our perception of beauty, of confidence, of representation and self empowerment. Your legacy is something I carry with me in everything I do. Thank you.”

Designer Marc Jacobs took to Instagram with a photo from a 1980 runway show by Mugler. “This Mugler show at BONDS Disco, 1980, was a major life changer. Never had I seen or experienced anything like it,” he wrote. “The Glamour! The Fashion! The Women! The extraordinary execution of an out of this world dream by fashion’s most incredible showman. Thank you for sharing your wildest fantasies. Rest In Peace Manfred Thierry Mugler.” Meanwhile, fashion designer Christian Siriano took to Twitter to share his condolences, writing, “Another Icon lost today. Rest well in ultimate beauty #thierrymugler. You opened many many doors. Fashion is having a hard month.”

Burberry chief creative officer and designer Riccardo Tisci also shared videos of Mugler’s shows and photos of the designer. “Lately I’ve been losing too many people that were close to me. Thierry, you are definitely one of them,” he captioned his post. “You started as a hero, my deepest inspiration and the one that showed the world how to be inclusive in every sense throughout your art and genius. Then the most incredible thing happened…we crossed paths and became friends; it was such an honor to know you, to love you and be loved by you genuinely. You will be very missed but fly high new angel and be surrounded by the same joy you were spreading on earth. BYE BYE ANGEL.”

Meanwhile, actress Tracee Ellis Ross recalled how Mugler helped her make one of her lifelong dreams come true at the age of 18. “I had the honor of walking for @muglerofficial twice: 1991 & 1992. When I was 18 then 19 years old. I desperately wanted to be a model,” she wrote on Instagram. “But, Super Model-dom was way out of my reach until my mother got a phone call from the incredible @manfredthierrymugler. My mother agreed to walk in the show as long as they allowed me to model in the show as well.” She added, “My 18th birthday present: I GOT TO WALK IN THE BUTTERFLY SHOW. And then Thierry invited me back the next year without my mom and I walked again.”

“Thierry Mugler was a defining force in fashion. Even his archive collection today seems futuristic. He was a true dreamer….he designed for a future where women were in charge and on top,” Ross continued. “His clothes were sculptural, sexy and fierce. I remember him as joyous and beautiful. He loved my mother. And allowed me to take part in his incredible world. What an honor it is to have a small piece [of] history with a true fashion icon. Rest In Peace, Manfred Thierry Mugler.”

Music diva Diana Ross also took to social media to share a throwback photo of herself and Mugler, writing, “I will miss you Thierry Mugler,” before noting, “this was a wonderful time in our lives.”

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