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Legendary American rocker Jimmy Buffett has died, aged 76.

The Margaritaville singer’s death was announced on Saturday afternoon AEST in a statement on X, formerly known as Twitter, and on his website.

“Jimmy passed away peacefully on the night of September 1st surrounded by his family, friends, music and dogs,” the statement said.

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Singer-songwriter Jimmy Buffett performs during a concert in Key West, Florida on Thursday, Feb. 9, 2023

“He lived his life like a song till the very last breath and will be missed beyond measure by so many.”

The statement did not say where Buffett died or give a cause of death. Illness had forced him to reschedule concerts in May and Buffett acknowledged in social media posts that he had been hospitalised, but provided no specifics.

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Tributes on Saturday came from all walks of life, from Hollywood star Miles Teller posting photos of himself with Buffett to former US Senator, Doug Jones of Alabama, who wrote on X, formerly Twitter, that Buffett “lived life to the fullest and the world will miss him.”

Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys wrote: “Love and Mercy, Jimmy Buffett.”

Former US President Bill Clinton wrote on X, formerly Twitter: “Jimmy Buffett’s music brought happiness to millions of people. I’ll always be grateful for his kindness, generosity, and great performances through the years.”

The singer-songwriter, who popularised beach-bum soft rock with the escapist Caribbean-flavoured song Margaritaville and turned that celebration of loafing into an empire of restaurants, resorts and frozen concoctions.

Margaritaville, released on February 14, 1977, quickly took on a life of its own, becoming a state of mind for those “wastin’ away”, an excuse for a life of low-key fun and escapism for those “growing older, but not up”.

The song is the unhurried portrait of a loafer on his front porch, watching tourists sunbathe while a pot of shrimp is beginning to boil.

Singer-songwriter Jimmy Buffett, right, along with members of his Coral Reefer Band including Mac McAnally, center, perform during a concert in Key West, Florida  on Thursday, Feb. 9, 2023

The signer has a new tattoo, a likely hangover and regrets over a lost love. Somewhere there is a misplaced salt shaker.

The song quickly took on a life of its own, becoming a state of mind for those “wastin’ away,” an excuse for a life of low-key fun and escapism for those “growing older, but not up”.

“What seems like a simple ditty about getting blotto and mending a broken heart turns out to be a profound meditation on the often painful inertia of beach dwelling,” Spin magazine wrote in 2021.

“The tourists come and go, one group indistinguishable from the other. Waves crest and break whether somebody is there to witness it or not. Everything that means anything has already happened and you’re not even sure when.”

Jimmy Buffett. October 1, 1988.

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The song — from the album Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes — spent 22 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and peaked at number eight.

The song was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2016 for its cultural and historic significance, became a karaoke standard and helped brand Key West, Florida, as a distinct sound of music and a destination known the world over.

“There was no such place as Margaritaville,” Buffett told the Arizona Republic in 2021.

“It was a made-up place in my mind, basically made up about my experiences in Key West and having to leave Key West and go on the road to work and then come back and spend time by the beach.”

Singer/songwriter Jimmy Buffett finishes a song at the Parrot Heads Meeting of the Minds convention in Key West, Florida on Nov. 5, 2015

Later in Buffett’s life, Margaritaville became the name of a range of businesses and products in his business empire, with Buffett landing at number 13 in Forbes’ America’s Richest Celebrities in 2016 with a net worth of $850 million.

There also was a Broadway-bound jukebox musical, Escape to Margaritaville, a romantic comedy in which a singer-bartender called Tully falls for the far more career-minded Rachel, who is vacationing with friends and hanging out at Margaritaville, the hotel bar where Sully works.

James William Buffett was born on Christmas day 1946 in Pascagoula, Mississippi, and raised in the port town of Mobile, Alabama.

Jimmy Buffett talks about the premiere of "Escape to Margaritaville" at the Saenger Theater in New Orleans on Monday, June 12, 2017.

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.

He released his first record, Down To Earth, in 1970 and issued seven more on a regular yearly clip, with his 1974 song Come Monday from his fourth studio album Living and Dying in ¾ Time, peaking at number 30. Then came Margaritaville.

Buffett was actually in Austin, Texas, when the inspiration struck for Margaritaville.

He and a friend had stopped for lunch at a Mexican restaurant before she dropped him at the airport for a flight home to Key West, so they got to drinking margaritas.

“And I kind of came up with that idea of this is just like Margarita-ville,” Buffett told the Republic. “She kind of laughed at that and put me on the plane. And I started working on it.”

Jimmy Buffett performs at the after party for the premiere of "Jurassic World" in Los Angeles, on June 9, 2015.

He wrote some on the plane and finished it while driving down the Keys.

“There was a wreck on the bridge,” he said. “And we got stopped for about an hour so I finished the song on the Seven Mile Bridge, which I thought was apropos.”

Buffett also was the author of numerous books including Where Is Joe Merchant? and A Pirate Looks At Fifty and added movies to his resume as co-producer and co-star of an adaptation of Carl Hiaasen’s novel Hoot.

He performed on more than 50 studio and live albums, often accompanied by his Coral Reefer Band, and was constantly on tour.

He earned two Grammy Award nominations, two Academy of Country Music Awards and a Country Music Association Award.

Buffett is survived by wife Jane Slagsvolv and their three children – daughters Savannah Buffett and Sarah Delaney Buffett, and adopted son Cameron Buffett.


Title: Miles Teller pays tribute after legendary American rocker Jimmy Buffett dies, aged 76
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Published Date: Sat, 02 Sep 2023 15:09:00 GMT

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