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.

  • Paul McCartney

    McCartney noted that he played on one of Jimmy’s final recordings and pointed out that he thought that some of his last songs were among his best. He said, “I was very happy to have played on one of his latest songs called ‘My Gummy Just Kicked In’. We had a real fun session and he played me some of his new songs. One, in particular, I loved was the song, ‘Bubbles Up’. And I told him that not only was the song great but the vocal was probably the best I’ve heard him sing ever. He turned a diving phrase that is used to train people underwater into a metaphor for life when you’re confused and don’t know where you are just follow the bubbles – they’ll take you up to the surface and straighten you out right away.”

  • Kenny Chesney

    Kenny Chesney, who was hugely influenced by Buffett’s music and lifestyle brand, paid tribute via a video of him covering Buffett’s “A Pirate Looks At Forty.” He also shared a video of him on stage with Buffett singing his signature song, “Margaritaville.” He wrote, “So goodbye Jimmy. Thanks for your friendship and the songs I will carry in my heart forever. Sail On Sailor.” 

  • Sheryl Crow

    Crow shared a pretty epic photo and wrote, “Just saw @jimmybuffett recently while recording with @EmmylouSongbird and @DollyParton. He was as he always was… a bright light! With a wonderful sense of humor and always so warm. I will miss knowing he is on the planet. He is up there sailing the bright blue Caribbean!”

  • Bob Seger

    Next to a photo of Buffett, Seger wrote, “Sunshine personified. I never met a human being that didn’t like him. He’ll be greatly missed.”

  • Mike Love of The Beach Boys

    Other than Buffett and his Coral Reefer Band, the only rock and roll group as associated with the beach is, of course, The Beach Boys. Love wrote, “Although we’ll miss you, we’ll continue to enjoy the beautiful music that you’ve blessed upon us. No more shoes, just your toes in heaven’s sand. ”

  • Clint Black

    Black wrote a lengthy post about his love for the music and the man himself. “I toured with Jimmy for half the summer of 1998 & came away with a new lease on touring. He ran a fine ship & it was a most fun & relaxing voyage. I imagine only the circus could compare with a Jimmy Buffett tour. Beyond the controlled chaos of his show, there was a depth to his lyrics that defied the carnival nature of his concert experience. As I watched the crowds, I wondered if they knew. ‘Margaritaville’ defined him to many, but to me, you could’ve set that aside & still have too many masterpieces to name; ‘West Nashville Grand Ballroom Gown,’ ‘Pencil Thin Mustache,’ ‘I’m Growing Older But Not Up,’ ‘Miss You So Badly,’ ‘Wonder Why We Ever Go Home’…the list goes on and on.”

  • Pitbull

    The rapper Pitbull, like Buffett, is strongly associated with beaches and good times and he shared a video of the two performing “Margaritaville” together. “Jimmy, you lived life and didn’t let life live you. A true pioneer and trailblazer. Thank God for @jimmybuffett and when life gives you limes, make margaritas. Rest in paradise.”

  • Joe Walsh

    Walsh reminisced about when the two were label mates, decades ago. “Jimmy Buffett was an immediate friend that day we met back in 1970. He got signed to the same record label as the James Gang, Three Dog Night and Steppenwolf. We all had a good laugh wondering what the hell he was doing there with such a motley crew… even Jimmy himself! But he showed us all that he was built to last. A great sailor, a good friend and a man who did a lot of good for this world while nobody was looking. I’m still honored to have played at his and Janie’s wedding. Here’s a pic from a fan video of us doing what we did best… playing rock and roll for a charity gig back in Chicago in ‘99. I love you, Jimmy. I miss you already.”

Sign me up for the ROCK 92.9 email newsletter!

Be the first to know about rock news, upcoming shows, plus exclusive prizes, giveaways, and more!

By clicking "Subscribe" I agree to the website's terms of Service and Privacy Policy. I understand I can unsubscribe at any time.