'Margaritaville' Singer-Songwriter Jimmy Buffett Dies at 76 | Playbill

Obituaries 'Margaritaville' Singer-Songwriter Jimmy Buffett Dies at 76

Mr. Buffett had an illustrious career, including inspiring the Broadway jukebox musical Escape to Margaritaville.

Jimmy Buffett

Updated September 7 to include Buffett's cause of death and a statement from his daughter.

Beloved "Margaritaville' singer-songwriter Jimmy Buffett passed away September 1 at the age of 76 following a four year struggle with Merkel Cell Skin Cancer, according to a statement released on his website and social media pages.

"Jimmy passed away peacefully on the night of September 1st surrounded by his family, friends, music and dogs," the statement reads. "He lived his life like a song till the very last breath and will be missed beyond measure by so many."

Mr. Buffett had an extensive career as a singer, songwriter, author, producer, and businessman. He is best known for the hit song "Margaritaville," his only single to reach the Billboard Hot 100 Top 10, and a collection of other albums in his self-proclaimed "drunken Caribbean rock 'n' roll" style. 

"My dad was the joy he sang about," writes daughter Sarah Delaney in a statement posted to Instagram September 6. 'He was the hardest working person I've ever seen. He was a great man and an even better dad to my brother, sister and me. He was generous with friends and strangers alike. He had a deep admiration for the people he worked with, and he never took himself too seriously, which is probably what I loved most about him."

Born on December 25, 1946, Mr. Buffett began his career in New Orleans, Louisiana as a country artist. His first album was a country-folk album called Down to Earth (1970). When "Margaritaville" gave him his big break in 1977, Mr. Buffett embarked on numerous tours, which he continued until May 2023. His other hit songs include “Cheeseburger in Paradise,” "It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere," "“Come Monday," and "Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes." Aside from his 29 studio albums, Mr. Buffett owned the Margaritaville restaurant chain, and wrote several fiction, nonfiction, and children's books, including a memoir.

In the theatre industry, Mr. Buffett was a producer on Broadway's Big Fish, Doctor Zhivago, and Diana via Parrothead Productions (Parrothead being nickname given to Mr. Buffett's fans). His music also inspired the jukebox musical Escape to Margaritaville, which had a short run on Broadway in 2018. Mr. Buffett hired Greg Garcia and Mike O'Malley to write a musical around his greatest hits. In Escape to Margaritaville, a group of tourists land on an unnamed tropical island, where they stay at a hotel called Margaritaville. 

Mr. Buffett also worked on another musical, called Don't Stop the Carnival, which never went to Broadway (though it had a short run in Miami). That musical was an adaptation of the Herman Wouk novel, which was about a middle-aged New Yorker who tries to escape to the Caribbean. Traveling to tropical destinations is a common theme in Mr. Buffett's work (including in the musical Escape to Margaritaville). Though Don't Stop the Carnival didn't run on Broadway, Mr. Buffett did preserve it via his 1998 album of the same name, which contained the songs he wrote for that musical. 

Mr. Buffett is survived by his wife, Jane Slagsvol, daughters Savannah Jane and Sarah Delaney, and son Cameron Marley.

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