Jimmy Buffett‘s cause of death has been revealed. An official obituary posted on his website, shared that the “Margaritaville” singer died after four year battle with Merkel cell carcinoma — a skin cancer.
“The beloved singer-songwriter Jimmy Buffett passed away at his home in Sag Harbor, Long Island on Friday September 1, 2023 surrounded by family and friends. Buffett, 76, had been fighting Merkel Cell Skin Cancer for four years. He continued to perform during treatment, playing his last show, a surprise appearance in Rhode Island, in early July,” the obituary read.
According to the Mayo Clinic, “Merkel cell carcinoma is a rare type of skin cancer that usually appears as a flesh-colored or bluish-red nodule, often on your face, head or neck. Merkel cell carcinoma is also called neuroendocrine carcinoma of the skin. Merkel cell carcinoma most often develops in older people. Long-term sun exposure or a weak immune system may increase your risk of developing Merkel cell carcinoma. Merkel cell carcinoma tends to grow fast and to spread quickly to other parts of your body. Treatment options for Merkel cell carcinoma often depend on whether the cancer has spread beyond the skin.”
The news of his diagnosis comes after he was forced to reschedule a show in May, when he was hospitalized for an undisclosed medical condition.
Buffett, who died at the age of 76, was celebrated in the obituary for his career in music, but also the work he did as a New York Times best-selling author and businessman.
“With a recording career that spanned more than fifty years and included hits such as “Margaritaville,” Come Monday,” and “It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere,” Buffett was one of the most successful performers in popular music,” the statement read. “He filled arenas with fans who called themselves “Parrot Heads,” and popularized a signature blend of folk, country and Caribbean music with lyrics that often reflected Buffett’s world travels. A pilot and a sailor, Buffett wrote songs about his plane being shot at by Jamaican police (“Jamaica Mistaica”), getting lost in the Sahara Desert (“Buffet Hotel”) and smugglers he had known around the Florida Gulf Coast (“A Pirate Looks at 40″).”
The obituary continued, “Although he was best known for upbeat party songs (others include “Cheeseburger in Paradise,” and “Fins”) Buffett first achieved notoriety for thoughtful ballads that showed the influence of Texas songwriters such as Jerry Jeff Walker and Canadian Gordon Lightfoot. Bob Dylan praised lesser-known Buffett compositions “He Went to Paris” and “Death of an Unpopular Poet” – songs that reflected the observational, storytelling skills Buffett developed in his early career as a journalist for Billboard magazine. Buffett had a second career as a successful author. He was one of a handful of writers who had number one best-sellers on both the fiction and non-fiction lists of the New York Times Book Review.”
Adding, “He had a third career as an entrepreneur, building a diversified lifestyle brand business, including Margaritaville hotels, restaurants, and retirement communities, along with sidelines such as Land Shark beer. Buffett’s branding and business acumen made him one of the most financially successful musicians of all time.”
On a more personal note, the obituary ended with a list of the family — including his longtime wife Jane — whom the “Trip Around the Sun” singer is survived by.
“Buffett is survived by his wife of 46 years, Jane (Slagsvol) Buffett, his daughters Savannah Jane (Joshua) and Sarah Delaney, his son Cameron Marley (Lara), his grandson Marley Ray and devoted pack of dogs Lola, Kingston, Pepper, Rosie, Ajax and Kody,” it read. “Also survived by his Montana sister, Laurie Buffett McGuane (Tom), their children Heather Hume, Anne Buffett McGuane, Maggie McGuane and Thomas McGuane IV; his Alabama sister, Lucy Buffett and daughters Mara Delaney Buffett O’Dwyer and Melanie Leigh Buffett; and many more wonderful cousins, nieces and nephews”
The family asked that donations be made to Jimmy Buffett’s Foundation Singing for Change, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Dana Farber Cancer Institute or MD Anderson Cancer Center.
The news of Buffett’s death was shared on Friday in a statement via Instagram. Next to a picture of the singer on a boat.
“Jimmy passed away peacefully on the night of Sept. 1st surrounded by his family, friends, music and dogs,” read a statement. “He lived his life like a song till the very last breath and will be missed beyond measure by so many.”