“He lived his life like a song till the very last breath and will be missed beyond measure by so many.”
That message on Jimmy Buffett’s website Saturday morning announced the loss of beloved “Margaritaville” singer Jimmy Buffett, whose tours, restaurant chain and even retirement communities made him a music icon, but also a kind of spiritual guide for people who shared his love of sun, fun and living for the moment.
“Jimmy passed away peacefully on the night of September 1st surrounded by his family, friends, music and dogs.”
Among those who shared fond memories of Buffett was President Joe Biden.
“A poet of paradise, Jimmy Buffett was an American music icon who inspired generations to step back and find the joy in life and in one another,” Biden said in a statement, praising Buffett’s “uniquely American cast of characters and seaside folkways.”
Toby Keith wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter: “The pirate has passed. RIP Jimmy Buffett. Tremendous influence on so many of us.”
That was a reference to Buffett’s song “A Pirate Looks at 40.” Fans referenced other Buffett songs, including “Cheeseburger in Paradise” and “It’s 5 O’Clock Somwhere,” as they honored the lifelong chronicler of good times.
“Enjoy your cheeseburger in paradise my friend, see you in Margaritaville,” one wrote.
“A secular saint, if there ever was one, Jimmy Buffet was. A humble giant,” said another fan.
Another wrote: “It’s 5 o’clock somewhere, Jimmy. Cheers.”
“RIP JB,” “RIP Jimmy Buffett” and “RIP Legend” were all trending first thing Saturday morning on X, formerly known as Twitter.
“Changes in Attitudes, Changes in Latitudes,” with the blockbuster hit “Margaritaville,” that finally catapulted him to stardom. “Fins,” another major single, was released in 1979.
Buffett gained wide popularity for Changes in Attitudes, Changes in Latitudes, which featured his signature song, “Margaritaville.” Another big single, “Fins,” came out in 1979. His biggest hit album was 1985’s Songs You Know By Heart, a collection of his previous songs.
Buffett was the focus of the 2017 documentary Parrot Heads, by Bryce Wagoner, which looked at his legions of fans around the world. He also turned up in TV shows including Blue Bloods and Hawaii Five-O and films including The Beach Bum and Jurassic World — he played a visitor to the dinosaur theme park who runs while holding margaritas, of course.
He also wrote music for movies including Fast Times at Ridgemont High and Urban Cowboy,” and wrote a 1992 bestselling novel, Where Is Joe Merchant? On Hawaii Five-O, his character, Frank Bama, was a character from the novel.
Despite his laid-back image, he was extremely smart when it came to business: This year Forbes estimated his net worth at $1 billion, thanks in large part to the marketing of the Margaritaville image. He gave back by backing conservationist causes.
Main image: Jimmy Buffett at The Beach Bum premiere at the ArcLight Hollywood on March 28, 2019 in Los Angeles.
Editor’s Note: Updates with statements from President Biden and Toby Keith.