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The Student News Site of Jupiter Community High School

War Cry

The Student News Site of Jupiter Community High School

War Cry

The Student News Site of Jupiter Community High School

War Cry

Remembering the life of Jimmy Buffet


Jimmy Buffett, singer, songwriter, author and entrepreneur, died peacefully on September 1, 2023, at age 76 in Sag Harbor, New York, surrounded by friends and family.

Four years ago Buffet was diagnosed with Markel-cell carcinoma, a rare type of skin cancer estimated to affect only one in 130,000 people in the U.S, characterized for being intrusive and spreading quickly throughout the body. 

Despite his poor health, Buffett continued to perform throughout his treatment. In early May he held his final concert alongside his Coral Reefer Band at Snapdragon Stadium in San Diego, to his already impressive legacy. 

Buffett was born in Pascagoula, Mississippi, where he grew up beside the Gulf of Mexico. As a child, he came from a water loving family, with his grandfather, James Delaney Buffett, working as a steamship captain and his father, James Delaney Jr., working as a marine engineer and sailor. 

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These early life experiences later influenced his love for the beach and coastal living later expressed in his music. This theme was prevalent in his hit song “Margaritaville,” where he sang about the carefree Caribbean lifestyle he loved.  

Building his future career off of the success of this song, Buffet later opened the first Margaritaville restaurant in Key West in 1987 before opening another over a decade later in Universal Studios CityWalk in Orlando, Fla. in 1999. 

In 2010, Buffet licensed his name to a Florida hotel in Pensacola worth $50 million. He expanded on this five years later when he opened the Margaritaville Hollywood Beach resort located in Fla. and the Margaritaville Vacation club by Wyndham in St. Thomas U.S. Virgin Islands, creating an impressive hotel empire. 

Robert Hagenbuch, Geography teacher at Jupiter High. Hagenbuch has been a fan of Jimmy Buffett for 40 years and has visited a Margaritaville hotel. “Everything was themed. Everything was Jimmy Buffett. Everything was flowers and color and just beautiful,” Hagenbuch said.

Now, in 2023, the Margaritaville franchise includes 31 hotels and resorts in the U.S. Other additions to this include a cruise line, casinos, a radio station, a home decor line and a tequila named Margaritaville. Buffets also opened a series of restaurants with LandShark Bar & Grill, which has 17 locations across Florida and the east coast.                        

Also known for his writing, Buffett has composed eight books with topics ranging from his life to his sayings and beliefs. His first book “The Jolly Mon” was published in May of 1988 while his latest book, “Swine not?” was published in December of 2007. 

Travis Suit, is the CEO and founder of Piper’s Angels Foundation, a nonprofit organization that was created to inspire action to help support those facing challenges with cystic fibrosis. 

Suit first met Buffett in December of 2011. Buffett first started contributing to the organization in 2017 and later officially joined the advisory board in 2019 after being diagnosed. In his time as a member Buffet contributed greatly to the association. 

“When I was telling him about Piper, my daughter, [Buffett said] that he would do anything that he could to support us,” Suit said. “He had a huge impact. He was instrumental in getting the organization off the ground in the early years and stages, And he really rallied a lot of support resources for us.” 

Suit fondly remembers Buffett as a man who loved life. He had a way of bringing out innocence and child-like wonder in the people he met and was able to use his music as a way to encourage everyone to live life to the fullest. 

“He was a really fun, loving person. He was always laughing and smiling, and he really knew how to enjoy life. He was passionate, he was sincere, and authentic and compassionate to those that he loved and supported,” Suit said.

Pipers Angels Foundation held a Paddle Out Ceremony honoring Jimmy Buffett on Sunday September 24, 2023, at the Lake Worth Beach to celebrate the life of Jimmy Buffett – a true waterman.

“Jimmy was love. Every cell in his body was filled with joy. He smiled all the time, even when he was deeply ill, and his sense of humor never wavered,” Slagsvol said.

On September 9, 2023, Slagsvol shared a message on Buffett’s website thanking doctors, friends and fans for their overwhelming compassion through tough times. 

“As Jimmy said a few months ago, “growing old is not for sissies,” Slagsvol said, “These last few years have been unimaginably challenging for Jimmy and me, and we’re definitely not sissies.” 

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