UPDATED: Jimmy Buffett, best known for his 1977 song “Margaritaville” and love of good times, died September 1 at the age of 76.
“Jimmy passed away peacefully on the night of September 1st surrounded by his family, friends, music and dogs,” a statement said late Friday on the musician’s official website and social media feeds. “He lived his life like a song till the very last breath and will be missed beyond measure by so many,” it added.
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No cause of death was revealed.
The consistently touring singer-songwriter, whose other hits include “Come Monday” and “Cheeseburger in Paradise,” had been hospitalized earlier this year for an unspecified illness. In the process, the island escapism performer canceled or postponed a number of concerts — a rare eventfor Buffett.
Born on Christmas Day 1946 in Pascagoula, Mississippi, Buffet shot to fame in the late ’70s with his seventh album, Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes, his homage to drinking and relaxing on the beach. The only Top Ten Billboard hit Buffett was to ever have, “Margaritaville” not only revitalized Buffett’s musical career, but spawned various other endeavors for him over the years.
Along with a resort, retirement communities, a restaurant chain, a SiriusXM satellite radio station, a beer brand, more soundtracks than one could count, and more businesses that made Buffett a billionaire, the song was partially the inspiration for his 1989 bestseller, Tales from Margaritaville, and other novels. A frequent presence on late-night TV over the decades, Buffett also ventured into acting at times. He appeared on the big screen in 2015’s Jurassic World and in TV shows like Blue Bloods and Hawaii Five-O.
On the road several months of the year up until quite recently entertaining his hardcore “Parrot Heads” fans, Buffett saw his 2004 album License to Chill and 2006’s Take the Weather with You both hit the top spot on the pop album charts.
Still, in many ways, it was “Margaritaville” that defined Buffett’s career and was, of course, along with “Come Monday” and “Cheeseburger in Paradise,” always part of the self-described “Big 8” songs from his catalog that he included in every live set. After being inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2016, “Margaritaville” was this year selected by the Library of Congress for the United States National Recording Registry. As a part of that process, the song was hailed for being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.”
Buffett has eight gold and nine platinum albums to his credit, led by the 1985 hits compilation Songs You Know by Heart, which has sold more than 7 million copies in the U.S. Another compilation disc, 1992’s Boats, Beaches, Bars and Ballads, is a 4 million seller.
Among his other most famous songs were the Top 40 singles “Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes” and “Fins,” “Livingston Saturday Night,” “Son of a Son of a Sailor,” “A Pirate Looks at Forty” and “It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere,” a Top 20 hit he had with Alan Jackson from the latter’s 2003 album Greatest Hits Volume II. It also spent eight weeks atop Billboard’s Hot Country Songs charts, was one of the biggest country hits of the year and won the Grammy for Best Country Song.
Buffett also is featured on Zac Brown Band’s 2011 gold single “Knee Deep.”
Erik Pedersen contributed to this report.
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