Singer-songwriter Jimmy Buffett died on September 1st, 2023. The legendary musician passed away at his home in Sag Harbor, after enduring a harrowing battle with Merkel-cell carcinoma, a rare and aggressive form of skin-cancer. Throughout his life Buffett was known for his sunny disposition that inspired songs like “Margaritaville” and “It’s 5 O’Clock Somewhere,” along with the Margaritaville restaurants and resorts.
In the wake of his passing, Buffett’s wife, Jane Slagsvol wrote a heartfelt tribute remembering her late-husband on his website. “As Jimmy said a few months ago, ‘growing old is not for sissies,’' Slagsvol wrote. “These last few years have been unimaginably challenging for Jimmy and me and we’re definitely not sissies. One thing we both knew and experienced, through every difficult moment, was the feeling of being buoyed up by all the people in our lives. Everywhere we went, at arenas, at events, and even in the hospitals, we were surrounded by love. There is a whole word of people I want to thank for the incredible kindness you showed us.”
Slagsvol then thanked Buffett’s fans, whom she called a “big, boisterous, family.” “Thank you for creating the world’s most joyful community,” she wrote. “The smile that Jimmy beamed at you from the stage was sparked by your spirit. I think that’s why he loved performing so much. He was so grateful to the community you built around him. Your sympathy and support inspire and comfort me and my family.”
Buffett performed his last show in July, at Sunset Cove in Rhode Island. The island-rock singer appeared as a surprise guest during his friend Mac McAnllay’s concert, just two months after being hospitalized. Despite his declining health, Buffett strapped on a guitar and sang a cheerful rendition of “It’s 5 O’Clock Somewhere.”
In her obituary, Slagsvol expressed gratitude for Buffet’s medical staff who helped the singer navigate his final days. “Jimmy listened to everything you said and followed your every order,” Slagsvol wrote. “You gave him hope, even at the most hopeless moments. Thank you for your tenacity in seeking the best solutions at each stage of his illness. You were honest, brave, and empathic; you showed us such dignity and goodness. I could not have asked for a better team of professionals.”
Slagslov ended her tribute with a joyful memory of her husband. “One of the last songs Jimmy recorded was ‘Bubbles Up,’” she wrote. “He sings ‘Just know that you are loved, there is light above, and the joy is always enough. Bubbles up.’ Jimmy knew he was loved. Right until the end, he looked for the light. Thank you for giving joy to him and me.
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