Pop culture icon of beach-bum life and singer/songwriter Jimmy Buffett has died at 76.
With songs like “Margaritaville,” released in 1977, Buffet was known for a special concoction of country, pop, folk and rock, with a touch of calypso more commonly found in the Caribbean, like steel drums.
Buffett fell in love with Key West, Florida, in the early 70s where he said he had “found a lifestyle, and I knew that whatever I did would have to work around my lifestyle.”
On the success of an island escapism theme, Buffet built a tropical-themed business empire that included a restaurant franchise, a hotel chain and boutique tequila, T-shirt and footwear lines, all of which made him a millionaire hundreds of times over.
Buffet wrote music for movies like “Fast Times at Ridgemont High” and “Urban Cowboy,” as well as appeared in a handful of movies and television shows.
Buffett was also an accomplished author. By the time he wrote “Tales From Margaritaville” (1989), the first of his three No. 1 best sellers, he had abandoned the hedonistic lifestyle he once embraced.
“I could wind up like a lot of my friends did, burned out or dead, or redirect the energy,” he told The Washington Post in 1989. “I’m not old, but I’m getting older. That period of my life is over. It was fun — all that hard drinking, hard drugging. No apologies. I still have a very happy life,” he went on. “I just don’t do the things I used to do.”
He was born on Dec. 25, 1946, in Mississippi, and was a lifelong Democrat.
A supporter of conservationist causes, Mr. Buffett moved away from the Keys in the late 1970s because of the area’s increasing commercialization. He initially relocated to Aspen, Colo., before making his home on St. Barts in the Caribbean. He also had houses in Palm Beach, Fla., and Sag Harbor, N.Y., on eastern Long Island.
According to this year’s Forbes estimate, he died a billionaire.
Buffett is survived by his wife, Jane; daughters, Savannah and Sarah; and son, Cameron.