Famous for his ubiquitous “Margaritaville” anthem and business savvy for transforming the iconic 1977 song into an empire that encompassed restaurants, resorts, and more, Jimmy Buffett has passed away at the age of 76.
On Friday (and 9.01), a statement posted to the legendary singer/songwriter’s website and social media platforms read, “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.”
Born on Christmas Day 1946, in Pascagoula, Mississippi, Buffett launched his country music career in Nashville where he recorded Down to Earth, his debut LP in the 1970’s while working as a correspondent for Billboard magazine.
Following a failed marriage in Tennessee, Jimmy went to Key West, Florida in 1972 where he found his muse that inspired his tropical rock sound that combed folk, rock, pop, and calypso. His breakthrough came in 1977 with his Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes album that was certified platinum, thanks in large part to the single ”Margaritaville” that went gold. Son of a Son of a Sailor followed in 1978, which included one of his super-successful “Cheeseburger in Paradise” single. Throughout his recording career, Buffett sold 20,000,000+ albums, with songs like “Come Monday,” and “Havana Daydreamin’ continuing to propel his success.
Spanning 50 years, Buffett’s performing career included more than 30 records, 17 of which went platinum or RIAA-certified gold. Due to his diehard Parrot Head fanbase, Buffett was a perennial road warrior, performing barefoot with his Coral Reefer Band at amphitheaters throughout North America.
A successful entrepreneur, Buffett parlayed his musical persona into Margaritaville Holdings in 1985 which morphed into a chain of restaurants, resorts, apparel, tequila and margarita mix, and retirement communities. In September 2023, Forbes estimated Jimmy’s net worth at 1 billion dollars.
Following a “brief hospitalization” for undisclosed health issues in September 2022, Buffett postponed the remainder of his Life on the Flipside tour dates.
During an interview with Rolling Stonein 2020, Jimmy reflected on his career and his journey from frustrated songwriter to king of the Parrot Heads, and business mogul stating “When you’ve had a couple of close calls — an airplane crash, a stage dive — you think you’re probably living on borrowed time. So I kind of do choose to live like it’s my last day,” he said. “Everybody goes at some point.” When asked how he would like to be remembered, Buffett replied, “’He had a good time and made a lot of people happy’ would be good.”