Legendary singer and songwriter Jimmy Buffett died on Friday at the age of 76 after struggling with an undisclosed health issue since 2022.
The “Margaritaville” icon died peacefully Friday surrounded by his family, friends, music and dogs, according to a statement posted to his website and social media accounts.
“He lived his life like a song till the very last breath and will be missed beyond measure by so many,” the statement read. Buffett’s cause and place of death were not provided.
Buffett leaves behind his wife Jane Slagsvol and his three children: Savannah, Sarah and Cameron.The musician began struggling with a health issue starting last year, when he was hospitalized and forced to cancel several shows, according to USA Today. In May and June 2023, he canceled additional concerts after disclosing that he returned to the hospital to address medical issues that required “immediate attention.”
In addition to the 1977 hit “Margaritaville,” Buffett released several pop culture staples in the 1970s and 1980s, including “Come Monday,” “Cheeseburger in Paradise,” “Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes,” “A Pirate Looks at Forty” and “Pencil Thin Mustache.”
Buffett was born on Christmas Day 1946 in Pascagoula, Mississippi, and grew up in Mobile, Alabama. He began playing guitar during his first year at Auburn University before continuing his college years at Pearl River Community College and the University of Southern Mississippi, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in history in 1969.The entertainer then moved to Nashville and released his first country album in 1970 called “Down to Earth.” But in a 1971 trip to Key West with fellow country music singer-songwriter Jerry Jeff Walker, Buffett’s musical focus changed from outlaw country to Calypso folk-pop.
On top of his musical pursuits, Buffett was involved in business as well, opening his first Margaritaville store in Key West in 1985. Two years later, he opened a Margaritaville Café nearby.
Buffett’s business empire built eventually featured apparel, resorts, restaurants, beer, casinos, a radio station and retirement communities. Forbes estimated in 2017 that the Margaritaville global lifestyle brand had more than $4.8 billion in the development pipeline and $1.5 billion in annual sales. Buffett’s net worth was listed at $1 billion in June 2023.
The musician has 30 albums, launched Margaritaville Records in the early 1990s, wrote several fiction books and was involved in film and TV through musical contributions and cameos.