Jimmy Buffett dies at 76: The Man Behind ‘Margaritaville’ is no more with us

On September 1, 2023, at the age of 76, the world lost the legendary musician Jimmy Buffett. His passing was confirmed in a statement posted on his social media and website on September 2, 2023. The statement did not specify the exact location of Buffett’s passing but confirmed that he passed away peacefully among his family, friends, music, and dogs.

The statement began, “Jimmy peacefully passed away on the night of September 1, surrounded by his family, friends, music, and dogs.” It emphasized that he lived his life until the very end, much like a song, and that many people will remember him dearly. Along with the announcement of Jimmy Buffett’s passing, there was a poignant image of the horizon, taken from a boat on the seaside, where the songwriter sat.

What was the cause of Jimmy Buffett’s death?

According to TMZ, the cause of Jimmy Buffett’s death was cancer. Reportedly, the musician was diagnosed with skin cancer about four years ago, which later developed into lymphoma.

Musician Jimmy Buffett Dead at 76
         A post shared by Jimmy Buffett on his Instagram

Jimmy spent his last days in Dharamshala.” Although the family has not officially confirmed the cause of Jimmy Buffett’s death, he recently shared with his fans about health-related issues that led to the cancellation and rescheduling of several music events.

In May 2023, a statement released by his team on his ex (formerly Twitter) account stated that approximately four months before his death, the singer-songwriter had been hospitalized to address some health concerns that needed immediate attention. The “Margaritaville” star was originally scheduled to perform in Boston, Massachusetts, but had to postpone the music event due to these health issues.

At that time, in his statement, he said, “Getting old isn’t for sissies, I promise you. I also promise you that when I’m back on stage, I will do it right here at the land of She-Crab Soup. You all make my life more meaningful and complete than I ever imagined as a little boy sitting on a [to] dock on the Gulf of Mexico.”

In 2022, the “Bama Breeze” singer had to reschedule a show due to health issues as well. In a statement posted on his Instagram account in September 2022, his team stated, “Due to health issues and a brief hospitalization, Jimmy will have to dodge the tour for the remaining year.” Jimmy is eager to return to the stage next year.

Buffett remained active on social media in the days leading up to his passing. His last post in 2016 featured a video of his performance with Paul McCartney and Jon Bon Jovi.

On the passing of Jimmy Buffett – President Joe Biden’s statement:

American President Joe Biden issued a statement on Saturday regarding the passing of Jimmy Buffett, referring to him as the “poet of paradise.” In his statement, President Biden said, “Jimmy reminded us how the simple things in life matter – the people we love, the places we call home, and the hopes we hold dear.”

Reuters further reported that during his career spanning over six decades, Buffett released more than twenty albums and elevated countless stages with his performances. Alongside that, he developed the concept of “Margaritaville” as a comprehensive lifestyle brand, encompassing a wide range of offerings from hotels and dining establishments to pool floats and frozen shrimp dishes.

Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville
Image Source- Google | Image By- Flickr

For his dedicated and enthusiastic fans, affectionately known as “Parrotheads,” in 2018, a retirement community called “Latitude Margaritaville” was launched in Florida, promising a blend of “food, fun, and escapism” for those aged 55 and above.

The idea for the “Margaritaville” brand started in the 1980s when Buffett noticed people wearing T-shirts with his (often misspelled) name on them while touring. In response, he opened a T-shirt shop and later added a café to the mix.

He had told Forbes in 1994, “If you’re an artist, if you want to have control over your life… you have to become an entrepreneur, whether you like it or not.”

James William Buffett, born on December 25, 1946, in Pascagoula, Mississippi, spent his early years in Mobile, Alabama. He was the son of a well-traveled Navy engineer and the grandson of a sea-loving sailor, whose influence instilled a deep and abiding passion for the sea within him. Buffett pursued journalism during his college years and eventually relocated to Nashville, Tennessee, where he began his career at Billboard magazine.

As a student, during his spare time, he honed his guitar skills and started performing on the streets for tips. In the thriving Nashville music scene, he released his first record in 1970.

Jimmy Buffett dead
Image Source- Google | Image By- PICRYL

However, it was in 1971 that he crossed paths with Key West, where he truly found his calling. Located at the southernmost tip of Florida, closer to Cuba than the American mainland, Key West was often seen as a paradise for artists, non-conformists, and lovers of cocktails. Notably, renowned author Ernest Hemingway had referred to this island as home during the 1930s.

Buffett said in an interview with the Miami Herald in 2022, “Key West will always be a part of me. It did for me what I’ve done for it.”

Buffett’s popular calypso music, which amplified the “island escapism” of life, quickly made him a household name. His first hit was “Come Monday” in 1974, but it was “Margaritaville” in 1977 that truly made waves. Beyond Florida, his songs resonated with those who cared more about their job, smoked cigarettes, drank tequila, and celebrated holidays by the seaside.

Throughout his illustrious career, Buffett released 27 studio albums, wrote a Broadway musical called “Escape to Margaritaville,” and penned several books, including the notable work “Tales from Margaritaville” in 1989. According to Reuters reports, in 1999, he also founded a record label, Mailboat Records.

Buffett entered into matrimony twice during his lifetime. His second wife, Jane Slagsvol, bore him three children, whom he met during his time in Key West in the 1970s.

(With input from Reuters)

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