Jimmy Buffett, a singer and businessman best known for his hit song “Margaritaville,” which kicked off a themed restaurant chain and hotels, has died. He was 76.
A statement shared on his website and social media late Friday, 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.”
A cause of death is not yet known.
Born on Dec. 25, 1946, in Pascagoula, Mississippi, Buffett initially went on to pursue a career as a country singer, moving to Nashville after graduating from college. He started out by working with a cover band before deciding to focus on his solo music.
It wasn’t until the early ’70s that Buffett scored his first record contract and later released his debut album called Down to Earth, though, it didn’t catch many people’s attention.
Soon after, when he moved to Key West, Florida, he adopted the laid-back beach-bum persona that he is most recognized for today. Around that time, he signed with ABC-Dunhill Records and released White Sport Coat and a Pink Crustacean in 1973 – the album that started to put him on the map.
But it wasn’t until he released his sixth album, Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes, in 1977 that he started to attract a mainstream audience. Especially since it included his hit track “Margaritaville.” The following year, he dropped Son of a Son of a Sailor, which featured another one of his most successful songs, “Cheeseburger in Paradise.”
Buffett’s other popular tracks include “It’s 5 O’Clock Somewhere,” “Come Monday,” “Volcano” and “It’s My Job,” to name a few. He has also collaborated with other artists over the years from Zac Brown Band for “Knee Deep,” to Clint Black, Kenny Chesney, Alan Jackson, Toby Keith and George Strait for “Hey Good Lookin’.”
In total, Buffett has released dozens of albums over his more than 50-year career, as well as headlined 40-plus concert tours. He had 13 songs reach the Billboard Hot 100 list, including “Margaritaville” making it to the Top 10 Hits.
After seeing what a success his beach-bum image was, Buffett decided to expand his brand, becoming not only a performer but a businessman. He came out with several books, beach-themed clothing, a Margaritaville restaurant chain, hotels, resorts and more.
Apart from music, the musician has also made appearances in television and movie projects over the years, including Jurassic World, Billionaire Boys Club, Hawaii Five-0 and Blue Bloods.
Earlier this year, Buffett canceled a handful of performances after he revealed that he had been hospitalized for an undisclosed illness. “Two days ago I was just back from a trip to the Bahamas, thawing out from the California’ winter tour’ and chomping at the bit to get to Charleston. I had to stop in Boston for a check-up but wound up back in the hospital to address some issues that needed immediate attention,” he shared on social media at the time. “Growing old is not for sissies, I promise you.”
Buffett is survived by his wife Jane Slagsvol and their three children, Savannah, Sarah and Cameron.
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