Jimmy Buffett, the singer-songwriter turned business mogul known for his escapist, tropical-Americana music, has died of Merkel cell carcinoma at the age of 76.
A statement reads: “Jimmy passed away peacefully on the night of September 1st surrounded by his family, friends, music and dogs. He lived his life like a song till the very last breath and will be missed beyond measure by so many.”
Jimmy’s songs were laissez-faire but very intentionally written. Humor and colorful imagery pervaded every lyric, and with his songs came an empire of restaurants, resorts, retirement communities
, and more.
Born on Christmas Day in 1946, Buffett grew up on the Gulf Coast and set down roots in Key West, Florida. Country music provided the inspiration for Buffett’s instrumentation and tales of escape. Buffett burst onto the scene with “Margaritaville,” his lone Top 10 hit, but many hits followed; “Cheeseburger in Paradise,” “Volcano,” and “Fins,” to name a few. Other classic songs include “It’s Five O’clock Somewhere” in collaboration with country superstar Alan Jackson and the wistful classic “A Pirate Looks at Forty.”
The catchy tunes Buffett wrote do not come from a position of privilege but rather desperation. He doesn’t sugarcoat in his lyrics that he’s made mistakes, has regrets or can avoid the futility of aging. Jimmy Buffett made listeners feel like they earned the party, along with that elusive shaker of salt.
Jimmy Buffett will be remembered for his honest songwriting and well-liked tracks. Despite dying relatively young, he lived a fantastic life full of joy with plenty of margaritas to go around.