‘Margaritaville’ Singer-Songwriter Jimmy Buffett Passes Away at 76

Shannen Ace

Jimmy Buffett

‘Margaritaville’ Singer-Songwriter Jimmy Buffett Passes Away at 76

Famous singer-songwriter and musician Jimmy Buffett passed away on Friday at the age of 76.

A post shared on Buffett’s official social media 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 Buffett
Noam Galai / Getty Images

Buffett wrote and performed music he described as “drunken Caribbean rock and roll” and was most known for his song “Margaritaville.” The song spawned restaurants of the same name and there are Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville locations are at both Universal CityWalk Hollywood and CityWalk Orlando.

Buffett was born in Pascagoula, Mississippi on Christmas Day in 1946. He first picked up a guitar in his freshman year of college and recorded his first album, “Down to Earth,” in 1970 in Nashville, Tennessee. He recorded five more in the years following but “Margaritaville,” the 1977 single from the album “Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes,” was what launched him into worldwide fame.

This year, “Margaritaville” was inducted into the Library of Congress National Recording Registry. Buffett said at the time, “You’re lucky enough at some point to put your thumb on the pulse of something that people can connect with. It’s an amazing and lucky thing to happen to you, and that happened with ‘Margaritaville.’”

Buffett released over 30 records. 17 were RIAA-certified gold or platinum. Buffett’s 1985 “Songs You Know by Heart: Jimmy Buffett’s Greatest Hit(s)” has sold over 5.6 million copies. In June 2023, Forbes put Buffett’s net worth at $1 billion.

His music inspired the jukebox musical “Escape to Margaritaville,” written by Greg Garcia and Mike O’Malley. It premiered on Broadway at the Marriott Marquis Theatre in February 2018 and launched a national tour the next year. In 2022, the Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line partnered with the Margaritaville brand and was renamed Margaritaville at Sea, operating the ship Margaritaville at Sea Paradise.

In addition to being a singer-songwriter and musician, Buffett was a sailor and pilot. He made several on-screen appearances, mostly as himself in documentaries and TV specials. His first Margaritaville Cafe opened in Key West, Florida in 1985. There are now 23 locations across the United States, Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Australia. In 2002, he founded the now-defunct Cheeseburger in Paradise restaurant franchise, named after another one of his famous laidback songs.

Buffett also wrote multiple books. The short story collection “Tales from Margaritaville,” the novels “Where Is Joe Merchant?” and “A Salty Piece of Land,” and his 1998 memoir “A Pirate Looks at Fifty” were all New York Times Best Sellers. He co-wrote the children’s books “The Jolly Mon” and “Trouble Dolls” with his daughter, Savannah Jane Buffett. The former inspired the name of the small ship Captain Jack first appears on in “Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl.”

Buffett is survived by his wife, Jane Slagsvol, and his children: Savannah Jane, Sarah Delaney, and Cameron Marley.

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