Jimmy Buffett, the singer-songwriter who built the imaginary destination of “Margaritaville” into a cultural icon for island chill and a powerhouse business empire, has died at the age of 76.
Buffett recently canceled concert dates and acknowledged being hospitalized. He died Friday night at his home, according to a statement on his website and social media accounts.
“Jimmy passed away peacefully on the night of September 1st surrounded by his family, friends, music and dogs,” the statement said. “He lived his life like a song till the very last breath and will be missed beyond measure by so many.”
Buffett shot to iconic popularity in 1977 with a song about a beach-bum loafer with a hangover and regrets looking for a lost salt shaker as he boils a pot of shrimp.
Though never a favorite of music critics — “Margaritaville” never got above No. 8 on the Billboard charts — the song became a rallying cry for millions of music lovers craving to escape to the Florida Keys island life without the worries of everyday life
Buffet would spend decades filling concert venues with his beloved “parrot head” fans dressed in Hawaiian shirts, flip-flops, and wild party hats. He also transformed his soft rock style — infused with a touch of Caribbean — into a successful business empire of themed restaurants and resorts.
“There was no such place as Margaritaville,” Buffett said in a 2021 Arizona Republic interview. “It was a made-up place in my mind, basically made up about my experiences in Key West and having to leave Key West and go on the road to work and then come back and spend time by the beach.”
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John Solomon is an award-winning investigative journalist, author and digital media entrepreneur who serves as Chief Executive Officer and Editor in Chief of Just the News.