Jimmy Buffett, Beloved ‘Margaritaville’ Singer-Songwriter, Dead at 76
American singer-songwriter Jimmy Buffett died Friday (Sept. 1). He was 76 years old.
"Jimmy passed peacefully on the night of September 1st surrounded by his family, friends, music and dogs," says a statement posted to the official Jimmy Buffett website. "He lived his life like a song til the very last breath and will be missed beyond measure by many."
James William Buffett was born on Christmas Day 1946 in Pascagoula, Mississippi. Buffett spent his childhood along the Alabama Gulf Coast, attending schools in Fairhope and Mobile. He graduated from the University of Southern Mississippi in 1969 and set off to Nashville to begin his music career in earnest.
"Buffett's music tells the stories of the hustlers, the beach bums and the pirates from all corners of the world. Through it all are woven the themes of escapism, wanderlust and an unbridled curiosity that makes life a journey worth taking," says a description on his official site.
Buffett's songs pioneered the "gulf and western sound," blending Country flair with the tropical vibes of Calypso music. He released four full-length albums before 1977's Changes in Latitude, Changes in Attitude, the album that made him a superstar.
Buffett released "Margaritaville," a single from the album on Valentine's Day 1977. It would go on to be a smash hit, spending 22 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100 and spawning a beach bum business for Buffett.
Buffett's Margaritaville empire includes casinos, cruise lines, record label, beer, and even a line of cannabis products named after his backing band, The Coral Reefers.
Buffet's dedication to the Gulf Coast never waned; he hosted a charity concert for hurricane relief in 2004 and, in 2010, hosted a free concert to raise funds and awareness for the Deepwater Horizon disaster in Gulf Shores, Alabama.
Buffett made appearances in multiple movies and films, most recently in 2019's Beach Bum with Matthew McConaughey.
Buffett collaborated with a wide array of musicians over the course of his storied career, even creating a No. 1 hit in 2011 with the Zac Brown Band.
Buffett is survived by his wife, Jane Slagsvol, daughters Savannah and Sara, and son Cameron.