As we reported yesterday, Jimmy Buffett passed away on Friday night at the age of 76. Buffett’s official social media accounts posted the sad news on Saturday morning. “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.”
It was later reported that the cause of death was skin cancer.
President Biden and James Taylor
Among those paying tribute was President Biden. He wrote, “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. We had the honor to meet and get to know Jimmy over the years, and he was in life as he was performing on stage – full of goodwill and joy, using his gift to bring people together. Jill and I send our love to his wife of 46 years, Jane; to their children, Savannah, Sarah, and Cameron; to their grandchildren; and to the millions of fans who will continue to love him even as his ship now sails for new shores.”
James Taylor’s account posted a longer message . In it, he noted that Buffett was “a real example of a man: no puffed up defensive macho bulls—, but a model of how to enjoy the great gift of being alive. And that’s what he shared so generously with us: a positive enthusiasm at being here. That so few of us knew how ill he was is essential Jimmy Buffett: he had no intention of burdening us with his illness.”
Buffett never fit neatly into one radio format. But he enjoyed a fanbase that included everyone from mainstream country music listeners to the Grateful Dead’s followers, known as Deadheads. And the tributes that began appearing on social media showed that range. Casual fans may have just associated Buffett with upbeat good time jams like “Cheeseburger in Paradise,” “Fins” and “Why Don’t We Get Drunk.” But those who dove a bit deeper knew that his heartbreaking ballads were on par with the best songs by singer/songwriters like James Taylor and Jim Croce.
In this interview/performance from The Late Show with David Letterman from 1983, Buffett explains how his song “Come Monday” saved his life. The song hits a bit harder right now, especially considering the opening lyrics, “Headin’ out to San Francisco/For the Labor Day weekend show/I got my Hush Puppies on/I guess I never was meant for glitter rock ‘n’ roll/And honey, I didn’t know that I’d be missin’ you so.” Some fans noted that there was a certain poetry to Buffett passing away on the last weekend of summer, the season that he was so closely associated with.
Check out some other tributes to Buffett below.