TMZ: Iconic ‘Margaritaville’ Singer-Songwriter Jimmy Buffett Passes Away at 76 Due to Lymphoma
By Space Coast Daily // September 2, 2023
A cause of death has not been given
‘Margaritaville’ singer-songwriter Jimmy Buffett, who passed away Friday at age 76, was diagnosed with skin cancer four years ago, TMZ reported Saturday, citing sources close to the star. That disease eventually progressed into lymphoma, which then killed him.
“Jimmy passed away peacefully on the night of September 1st surrounded by his family, friends, music and dogs,” according to Buffett’s official website on Friday. “He lived his life like a song till the very last breath and will be missed beyond measure by so many.”
“He lived his life in the sun, literally and figuratively,” one close friend told the publication.
Buffett began receiving hospice care last Monday, and a week ago, Sir Paul McCartney reportedly came to Buffett’s home and sang to his family.
Last May, a then unspecified illness caused Buffett to reschedule concerts and he noted he had been hospitalized, but provided no details as to his illness.
James William Buffett was born on December 25, 1946 in Pascagoula, Mississippi, and raised in the port town of Mobile, Alabama. He graduated from the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, and went from busking the streets of New Orleans to playing six nights a week at Bourbon Street clubs.
Buffett was born on December 25, 1946, in Pascagoula, Mississippi, and spent part of his childhood in Mobile and Fairhope, Alabama. He was the son of Mary Lorraine (née Peets) and James Delaney Buffett Jr, who worked for the Army Corps of Engineers.
During his grade school years, he attended St. Ignatius School, where he played the trombone in the school band. As a child, he was exposed to sailing through his grandfather who was a steamship captain and these experiences influenced his later music.
He graduated from McGill Institute for Boys, a Catholic high school in Mobile, in 1964. He began playing the guitar during his first year at Auburn University after seeing a fraternity brother playing while surrounded by a group of girls.
Buffett left Auburn after a year due to his grades and continue his college years at Pearl River Community College and the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, where he received a bachelor’s degree in history in 1969.
From 1969 to 1970, Buffett worked for Billboard as a Nashville correspondent.
Buffett began calling his music “drunken Caribbean rock ‘n’ roll” as he said on his 1978 live album You Had To Be There. Earlier, Buffett himself and others had used the term “gulf and western” to describe his musical style and that of other similar-sounding performers.
The name derives from elements in Buffett’s early music including musical influence from country, along with lyrical themes from the Gulf Coast. A music critic described Buffett’s music as a combination of “tropical languor with country funkiness into what some [have] called the Key West sound, or Gulf-and-western.”
The term is a play on the form of “Country & Western” and the name of the former conglomerate and Paramount Pictures parent Gulf+Western. In 2020, The Associated Press described Buffett’s sound as a “special Gulf Coast blend of country, pop, folk and rock, topped by Buffett’s swaying voice. Few can mix steelpans, trombones and pedal steel guitar so effortlessly.”
The DC Metro Theatre Arts magazine, in a review for Buffett’s musical Escape to Margaritaville, described Buffett’s music as “blend[ing] Caribbean, country, rock, folk, and pop music into a good-natured concoction variously classified as “trop rock” or “gulf and western.”
Other performers identified as gulf and western are often deliberately derivative of Buffett’s musical style and some are tribute bands, or in the case of Greg “Fingers” Taylor, a former member of Buffett’s Coral Reefer Band. They can be heard on Buffett’s online Radio Margaritaville and on the compilation album series Thongs in the Key of Life. Gulf and western performers include Norman “the Caribbean Cowboy” Lee, Jim Bowley, Kenny Chesney and Jim Morris.
Buffett wrote several books, including “Where Is Joe Merchant?” and “A Pirate Looks At Fifty” and was a co-producer and co-star of an adaptation of Carl Hiaasen’s novel “Hoot.”
He is survived by his wife, Jane; daughters, Savannah and Sarah; and son, Cameron.