How Did Jimmy Buffett Die? He Addressed ‘Growing Old’ Before His Death

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A sad day for Parrotheads. Following the tragic news of his passing, fans are wondering about Jimmy Buffett’s cause of death. For everything we know so far, keep on reading below.

Born on Christmas Day in 1946, Buffett first called Pascagoula, Mississippi home before spending the later part of his childhood in Mobile, Alabama. Buffett came from a nautical family: his father, James Delaney “J.D.” Buffett, worked on ships and dockyards and exposed his son to sailing at a young age. He was also heavily influenced by his grandfather, James Buffett Sr., who worked as a sea captain sailing all around the world. Buffett’s mother, Mary Lorraine, also worked at the shipyard. But in her free time, she performed with the Mobile Theatre Guild in Alabama and introduced her son to musical theater when he was a young boy.

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“She would always be in productions, and she would take me to the shows when they’d come through town,” he told Entertainment Weekly in 2018, revealing that he “grew up on” musicals. “I never saw one in New York until many years later, but I just got infected then.”

As a schoolboy, Buffett played trombone in the school band. But his musical career really began to take shape in the 1960s, when he started playing guitar and singing at local bars during his college years. These early days were marked by a strong fascination with the coastal lifestyle of his youth—interests which would later become central themes in his music.

In 1977, Buffett released his iconic track “Margaritaville” off the album Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes, which catapulted him to stardom and defined his laidback brand of beachy tunes. The song, with its catchy melody and carefree lyrics, quickly became an anthem for those seeking an escape from the daily grind. The track was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2016 and is included on the Recording Industry Association of America’s list of “Songs of the Century,” and remains one of Buffett’s most enduring hits today.

“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.”

In the years to come, Buffett’s devoted fanbase—known as Parrotheads—took on a life of their own. These fans embraced the carefree spirit of Buffett’s music, often attending his concerts in Hawaiian shirts, grass skirts, and leis.

“It’s pure escapism is all it is. I’m not the first to do it, nor shall I probably be the last,” Buffett told the Republic about his fandom. “But I think it’s really a part of the human condition that you’ve got to have some fun. You’ve got to get away from whatever you do to make a living or other parts of life that stress you out. I try to make it at least 50/50 fun to work and so far it’s worked out.”

Beyond music, Buffett was a savvy businessman, having expanded his brand into restaurants—most notably the Margaritaville Café franchise. He also ventured into writing, penning best-selling books, including his memoir A Pirate Looks at Fifty.

As Parrotheads bid farewell to Buffett, many still want to know how Jimmy Buffett died. For everything we know about Jimmy Buffett’s cause of death at the age of 76, keep on reading below.

How did Jimmy Buffett die?

Jimmy Buffett died at the age of 76 on September 1, 2023, a statement posted to his social media and website confirmed on September 2, 2023. The statement did not reveal where Buffett died, but confirmed that the “Come Monday” singer—who is survived by his wife Jane and kids Savannah, Sarah, and Cameron—passed away with family and friends by his side.

“Jimmy passed away peacefully on the night of September 1st surrounded by his family, friends, music and dogs,” the statement began. “He lived his life like a song till the very last breath and will be missed beyond measure by so many.” The announcement of Jimmy Buffett’s death was accompanied by a touching photo of the beachy songwriter staring out at the horizon while sitting on a boat.

What was Jimmy Buffett’s cause of death?

According to TMZ, Jimmy Buffett’s cause of death was cancer. The musician was reportedly diagnosed with skin cancer four years ago, and the disease progressed to lymphoma.

“He lived his life in the sun, literally and figuratively,” a source told the site, revealing that Buffett had been on hospice in the days leading up to his death.

While Jimmy Buffet’s cause of death has yet to be confirmed by his family, he recently opened up to his fans about experiencing health issues that caused him to cancel and reschedule a recent string of concerts.

Nearly four months before his death, the singer-songwriter was hospitalized to “address some issues that needed immediate attention,” according to a statement he released for his fans on X (formerly Twitter) in May 2023. At the time, the “Trip Around the Sun” star was originally scheduled to perform in Boston, Massachusetts but was forced to reschedule the concert.

“Growing old is not for sissies, I promise you,” he said in his statement at the time. “I also will promise you, that when I am well enough to perform, that is what I’ll be doing in the land of She-Crab soup. You all make my life more meaningful and fulfilled than I would have ever imagined as a [tow] headed little boy sitting on the edge of the Gulf of Mexico.”

In 2022, the “Bama Breeze” singer also had to reschedule a set of shows due to health troubles. “Due to health issues and brief hospitalization, Jimmy will need to refrain from touring for the rest of the year,” read a statement from his team, posted to the singer’s Instagram account in September 2022. “On doctor’s orders, he must take time to recuperate and heal. Jimmy looks forward to getting back on stage next year.”

Buffett was active on social media in the days leading up to his death. His last post was a video of himself performing with Paul McCartney and Jon Bon Jovi from 2016. “#withalittlehelpfrommyfriends,” he captioned the post, adding the hashtags, “flashbackfun,” and “#summer2016.”

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