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Jimmy Buffett, ‘Margaritaville’ singer, dies aged 76

Jimmy Buffett, the country pop singer-songwriter best known for his 1977 hit “Margaritaville”, has died at the age of 76.

A statement posted to his website and social media channels on Saturday (2 September) said: “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.”

The statement did not say where Buffett died or give a cause of death.

Mississippi-born Buffet first started playing guitar on the streets of New Orleans, before moving to Nashville where he got a job at Billboard magazine and tried to make it as a singer.

In 1977, he made it when his song “Margaritaville”, a homage to beach life, catapulted him to fame. It spawned various business endeavours for him over the years, including a resort, retirement communities, a restaurant chain and a beer brand, all businesses that helped make him a billionaire.

“Margaritaville” is a chilled-out portrait of a slacker on his front porch, watching oil-covered tourists sunbathing and boiling a pot of shrimp.

The song, from the album Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes, spent 22 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and peaked at No 8.

It also inspired his 1989 bestseller Tales from Margaritaville and other novels.

“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.”

Buffet was a regular on late-night TV over the decades, and also had a stint as an actor, appearing in 2015’s Jurassic World and TV shows such as Blue Bloods and Hawaii Five-O.

The ever-touring musician was loved by fans for his laid back attitude and good-time energy. His hardcore fans are known as Parrot Heads, because they would wear parrot-themed headwear at his shows.

Buffet’s other hits over his 50-year career included “Come Monday” and “Cheeseburger in Paradise”.

He was treated in hospital earlier this year for an unspecified illness, prompting him to cancel concerts.

Buffett is survived by his wife, Jane Slagsvol, and three children: Savannah, Sarah, and Cameron.