Margaritaville singer Jimmy Buffett was a treasured entertainer – Elton John

Buffett earned two Grammy Award nominations.

Charlotte McLaughlin
Saturday 02 September 2023 21:36 BST
Jimmy Buffett has died aged 76. (AP Photo/Dave Martin)
Jimmy Buffett has died aged 76. (AP Photo/Dave Martin)

Sir Elton John has spoken of his sadness at the death of Jimmy Buffett as he hailed the US singer-songwriter as a “unique and treasured entertainer”.

Buffett, known for the hit song Margaritaville, died “surrounded by his family, friends, music and dogs” at the age of 76 on Friday.

He earned two Grammy Award nominations, two Academy of Country Music Awards and a Country Music Association Award.

Writing in an Instagram story, British megastar Sir Elton said: “Jimmy Buffett was a unique and treasured entertainer. His fans adored him and he never let them down.

“This is the saddest of news. A lovely man gone way too soon. Condolences to (his wife) Jane and the family from (my husband) David (Furnish) and me.”

Sir Elton released a 2006 record called The Captain And The Kid, the same title as a song on Buffett’s 1970 debut record, Down To Earth.

Released in 1977, Margaritaville – taking its name from the popular cocktail – is about having a laid-back lifestyle in a tropical tourist location.

The chart-topping song, which was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2016, also lent its name to Buffett’s chain of shops, restaurants and resorts along with a radio station.

Also paying tribute was The Beach Boys co-founder Brian Wilson, rapper LL Cool J, American surfer Kelly Slater, Star Trek star George Takei, US TV presenter Andy Cohen and Whiplash actor Miles Teller.

Slater, 51, said on Instagram that since he met Buffett in France in 2010 he “kind of became a surrogate” father to him.

He added: “He told me life was too short not to take every good opportunity that came along and go live it.

“I’m not sure I’ve met many people with as positive an attitude who were as welcoming and giving as Jimmy has been to me, just one of the many thousands of friends he’s had around this world… I really don’t want to believe such a fine man is gone but I’m thankful and lucky for the times we had.”

Teller shared an image of himself with Buffett on X, and quoted the singer saying: “Where it all ends, I can’t fathom, my friends. If I knew I might drop my anchor.”

US President Joe Biden hailed Buffett as a “poet of paradise” and “an American music icon who inspired generations to step back and find the joy in life and in one another”.

In a statement, he added: “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.

“We (my wife Jill and I) had the honour 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.”

He also paid tribute to Buffett as a “best-selling writer, businessman, pilot, and conservationist who championed the waters and Gulf Coast that he so loved”.

Announcing his death on Saturday, a message on Buffett’s Instagram read: “Jimmy passed away peacefully on the night of September 1 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.”

The singer and businessman is survived by his wife Jane, daughters Savannah and Sarah, and son Cameron.

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