Legendary Skateboarder Keith Hufnagel, Founder of Streetwear Brand Huf Worldwide, Dies at 46

The iconic skateboarding figure died after battling brain cancer for two-and-a-half years

Keith Hufnagel
Keith Hufnagel. Photo: Joshua Blanchard/Getty Images

Keith Hufnagel, the legendary skateboarder and founder of Huf Worldwide, has died. He was 46.

Hufnagel died after a two-and-a-half year battle with brain cancer, the company announced on Thursday.

"Though he beat the odds and fought back much longer than his diagnosis permitted, he ultimately and unfortunately lost the fight," the brand Hufnagel founded said in a lengthy statement.

"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," the statement continued, saying that the skater "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," the statement continued.

"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."

The statement concluded by saying that Hufnagel's "legacy will continue to live on at HUF. Today, tomorrow and forever. Rest in peace, Keith."

Hufnagel founded Huf in 2002, opening the brand's first shop in San Francisco after he moved to the West Coast from New York.

He told Complex in 2012 that the brand's name "was sort of born on the streets."

"The name HUF just stuck with me as a sort of nickname amongst my friends, so once I turned pro I started using it on product and clothing and it became what people recognized me by," he told the outlet.

"In 2002, after I had been living and skating in San Francisco for a bit, I decided I wanted to open up a retail shop that would sort of fuse skateboarding with the sneaker and streetwear scenes at the time," he explained of the brand's inception.

Hufnagel explained that while the Huf line began as "just hats and tees at first" with the shop's name, "it had turned into a full-blown clothing line" before he knew it.

"The whole evolution of the brand was really organic in a sense, and that’s something I’m really proud of," he said. "I’m stoked to see the brand where it is at today, considering how it all came about."

Several tributes were made to Hufnagel, who was hailed for his impact on skate and streetwear culture, on social media Thursday.

Nice Kicks, a sneaker publication, remembered Hufnagel for "bridg[ing] the worlds of skate, streetwear, and sneakers in an authentic way that continues to have a lasting impact today."

"Man..... heavy emotions. R.I.P. Keith Hufnagel," wrote photographer Stephen Vanasco on Twitter. "Thank you for all the inspiration you gave us on and off the board."

Hufnagel is survived by his wife Mariellen and their two children.

In May, the skater wished Mariellen a happy Mother's Day with a sweet post on Instagram.

"Happy Mother’s Day to my beautiful wife @mariellen_olson Thanks for being an awesome mom and taking care of all of us ❤️" he wrote, sharing a photo of his wife with their kids.

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