Jimmy Buffett, the tropical peripatetic poet whose popular tunes celebrated his laid-back lifestyle, inspired legions of loyal fans and created a lucrative business empire, has died, according to his statements. Official Website and multiple media.
He was 76 years old.
“Jimmy passed away peacefully on the night of September 1 surrounded by his family, friends, music and dogs,” read a statement released on his social page.
The statement continued, “He lived his life as a song until his last breath and he will be missed by many beyond measure.”
The cause of death was not disclosed.
The singer-songwriter was briefly hospitalized in May after a trip to the Bahamas. “I had to stop in Boston for a check-up, but I ended up back in the hospital to address some issues that needed immediate attention,” he told his followers in a social media post.
Buffett posted a day later that he had soon returned home from the hospital, and thanked his followers for the “outpouring of support and well wishes.” He did not share his ailments, but said he would go “fishing with old friends, kayaking, sailing and getting in good shape” when he got home from hospital.
Mourners paid tribute on social media Saturday, including country star Kenny Chesney, whose sunny style owes much to Buffett.
Chesney tweeted“Goodbye, Jimmy. Thank you for your friendship and the songs I will carry in my heart forever. Sailing on a sailor. And he shared a video of himself singing Buffett’s song “Son of a Sailor” on the beach.
“The Pirates have passed. Rest in peace Jimmy Buffett. Huge impact on so many of us,” he wrote Toby Keith.
Brian Wilson “Love and mercy, Jimmy Buffett,” wrote one of the Beach Boys.
Elton John He wrote on Instagram: “Jimmy Buffett was a unique and cherished artist. His fans loved him and he never let them down. This is the saddest news. A beautiful man passed away so early.”
Paul McCartney He shared fond memories of Buffett as “one of the nicest, most generous people” on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter.
“Until the last moment, his eyes still sparkled with the sense of humor that said, ‘I love this world and I’m going to enjoy every minute of it,'” McCartney wrote.
“Many of us will miss Jimmy and his tremendous personality, and his love for all of us and all of humanity,” he said.
Gentle grooves and clever wordplay
Buffett was born on Christmas Day 1946 in Pascagoula, Mississippi, and raised in the coastal city of Mobile, Alabama. He moved to Key West, Florida, where he found his voice, says his website.
One of his first songs to gain attention was “Come Monday” from his 1974 album Living & Dying in ¾ Time.
Years later he told David Letterman, “That song kept me from killing myself in Howard Johnson’s in Marin County. It happened, I paid the rent, I let my dog down by the pound. … The rest is history.”
He notably included the line “I got my hush puppy, I guess I never meant to rock ‘n’ roll glam,” confirming his claim to go his own relaxed way.
Pictures: singer-songwriter Jimmy Buffett
An amiable singer-songwriter with a penchant for clever wordplay, Buffett largely ignored pop music trends and was never a hit maker or an MTV darling. His “Gulf and Western” style combines country and Caribbean music.
He is best known for putting “Margaritaville” on the map in 1977. It was his only Top 10 hit and it became his signature hit.
Its opening lines became instantly recognizable: “We eat sponge cake, watch the sun heat, and all the tourists are covered in oil…”
The chorus has been part of countless lyric songs: “I was wasted again in Margaritaville, looking for my lost salt shaker… Some people claim there’s a woman to blame, but I know it’s my damn fault.”
Buffett has built a huge cult of fans, known as “Parrotheads”, after the legendary Deadhead fans of the Grateful Dead.
“The audience is very interesting for me to look at,” he said. “I mean, they’re just as amusing to me as I hope I am to them.”
Other must-play party tunes include “Cheeseburger in Paradise,” “Fins,” “Volcano,” and “When Don’t We Get Drunk.”
His followers lovingly embraced his vision of a life spent in slippers filled with beaches, boats, booze and weed.
“From New Orleans to the Gulf Coast to St. Barts and other places, I can still find magic in most of those places where people think there is no place anymore,” he said.
A shrewd marketer, Buffett would later exploit the “Margaritaville” legend to advance his career through decades of lucrative concert tours—restaurant brands, casinos, retirement communities, bestselling books, and even musicals.
His fortune was estimated at one billion dollars, according to Forbes magazine.
Buffett, which was entered into Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame In 2006, he won two Country Music Association Awards during his career and was nominated twice for Grammy Awards.
A rare misstep came with the 2018 Broadway show, Escape to Margaritaville, which was formed from his most famous hit.
Even the New York Times’ scathing review noted the irony of Buffett’s complacent image against his dizzying success: “Mr. Buffett, the prototype and mastermind of the Margaritaville Company, has a wife, a family, and 5,000 employees; he works nonstop.”
Before his death, Buffett was preparing to release a new record, with songs previewed weekly on Margaritaville radio, according to his website.
Faithful to his party creed to the end, he left a forthcoming song called “My Gummy Just Kicked In”.
Buffett leaves behind his wife, Jane Slgsvoll, and three children.
“Communicator. Music aficionado. Certified bacon trailblazer. Travel advocate. Subtly charming social media fanatic.”