Jimmy Buffett passed away Friday, but the singer left a timeless legacy in many ways, not the least of which was among Florida political figures, and even a national figure who is in the state today.
“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,” asserted President Joe Biden.
“His witty, wistful songs celebrate a uniquely American cast of characters and seaside folkways, weaving together an unforgettable musical mix of country, folk, rock, pop, and calypso into something uniquely his own,” Biden added. “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.”
“Over more than 50 studio and live albums and thousands of performances to devoted Parrot Heads around the world, Jimmy reminded us how much the simple things in life matter – the people we love, the places we’re from, the hopes we have on the horizon. A two-time Grammy nominee and winner of multiple country music awards, he was also a best-selling writer, businessman, pilot, and conservationist who championed the waters and Gulf Coast that he so loved.”
The family of Bob Graham issued a lengthy statement about their friend. The statement can be read here.
Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis let a quote speak for him.
“And there’s that one particular harbour/Sheltered from the wind/Where the children play on the shore each day/And all are safe within/Most mysterious calling harbour/So far but yet so near/I can see the day when my hair’s full gray,And I finally disappear,” Patronis posted.
“The incredibly sad news of the loss of Jimmy Buffett took a piece of Florida’s heart. Florida was lucky to have such a devoted citizen in Jimmy, who led a movement as a founder of Save the Manatees and deserves credit for ensuring their protection. May his memory be a blessing,” added U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz.
Florida Democratic Party Chair Nikki Fried called Buffett an “icon.”
“Jimmy Buffett was an icon. He inspired generations to laugh and enjoy life. He brought communities together through his music. He was a fierce advocate for cannabis legalization, the torch has been passed. Fins Up! I was so fortunate to be able to share the stage with him,” Fried tweeted.
Rep. Chip LaMarca, a Republican from Broward, thanked Buffett “for so many memorable songs that we celebrate life’s memories with.”
“Your work for disabled American veterans is not well known, but you touched so many warriors and gave them a reason to celebrate life,” LaMarca added.
Political strategist Steve Schale notes Buffett “holds another Florida political distinction: He was easily biggest act to ever perform at Florida Press Skits, when he did a skit with Governor Graham.”
Indeed, Graham and Buffett shared the stage in 1984.
Strategist and commentator Rick Wilson offered his own take.
“If you were a kid growing up in Florida in the 1970s, 80s, or any time since, this one hits hard. His music and attitude helped define the OG Florida Man. Though he was raised in Mississippi, he loved Florida like few others,” Wilson observed.
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