Jimmy Buffett Passed Away at 76 — What Was the "Margaritaville" Singer's Cause of Death?

Melissa Willets - Author

Jan. 2 2024, Updated 12:28 p.m. ET

Jimmy Buffett attends the 2023 Vanity Fair Oscar Party Hosted By Radhika Jones at Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts on March 12, 2023 in Beverly Hills, Calif.
Source: Getty Images

The Gist:

  • Jimmy Buffett died on Sept. 1, 2023, in Sag Harbor, N.Y. He was 76 years old.
  • The singer, best known for "Margaritaville," had a reported net worth of $1 billion at the time of his death.
  • Jimmy is survived by his wife, Jane Slagsvol, and his three kids, Savannah Buffett, Cameron Marley Buffett, and Sarah Delaney Buffett.
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Who among us hasn't said, "It's 5 o'clock somewhere" as an excuse to enjoy a cocktail maybe a bit earlier than the official start of the evening hours?

Well, Jimmy Buffett, the crafter of that iconic song and so many others, died at the age of 76 — and to say his many fans are crushed is an understatement.

The beloved musician's surprising passing was announced via his Instagram account in the wee hours of the morning on Sept. 2, 2023.

So what was his cause of death exactly? Here is what we know about Jimmy Buffett's tragic death.

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So, what was Jimmy Buffett's cause of death?

Jimmy Buffett and teh Coral Reefer Band performs during the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival at the Fair Grounds Race Course on May 8, 2022 in New Orleans, Louisiana
Source: Getty Images

We first got a hint that Jimmy Buffett's health was deteriorating a few years prior to his passing.

Indeed in 2022, Jimmy canceled his tour due to undisclosed health issues. He didn't specify what he was dealing with at that time, but the vacation vibes master's untimely passing was revealed as having been the result of Merkel cell skin cancer.

In a statement posted to his website, fans learned that Jimmy 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."

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According to the National Cancer Institute, the form of cancer Jimmy had is very rare and typically appears as a single painless lump on sun-exposed skin.

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Meanwhile, it was also shared via Jimmy's Instagram that "he passed away peacefully" on Sept. 1, "surrounded by his family, friends, music, and dogs."

The moving post announcing his death went on to say that the singer "lived his life like a song till the very last breath" (sob) and expressed that he will be missed.

Jimmy, who according to the New York Post told fans in May, "Growing old is not for sissies, I promise you," is survived by his wife of several decades, Jane Slagsvol, and three kids: Savannah, Sarah Delaney, and Cameron.

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How did fans react to Jimmy Buffett's tragic death?

Upon hearing that the singer had died, fans flooded social media to pay tribute to the king of taking it easy with a drink in hand, with one comment to the Instagram announcement of Jimmy's passing sharing an amazing coincidence about the timing of his death.

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"Died on the last (unofficial) day of summer," the fan noted. Chills, right? Us too.

From Twitter to TikTok, fans gathered en masse to honor the man behind restaurants we'll continue to love, and tunes we'll cherish forever.

"Thank you is not enough to say for what you meant to the world," one devoted fan, who speaks for all of us, gushed upon hearing the news of his passing.

Some fans were even moved to tears upon hearing that Jimmy had gone on to the beach in the sky.

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For generations of fans, Jimmy's music was simply the soundtrack of their weekends, vacations, and even the inspiration for major life changes.

Incredibly, "Margaritaville" came out in 1977, and Jimmy remains a music icon to this very day.

The singer described his tunes as "escapism" and earned a devoted following of so-called "Parrotheads."

And so, we join the many devastated "Parrotheads" in expressing our deepest condolences to Jimmy's family. And indeed, since "it's 5 o'clock somewhere," we raise a margarita to the singer, and all the happy, relaxing moments his music enhanced.

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