HOUSTON — Jimmy Buffett celebrated slackers before the word existed, even though he was hardly one himself.
“Wastin' away again in Margaritaville,” went the chorus to his most famous song, which became an international singalong. But Buffett was actually an astute, ambitious, aggressive businessman.
A statement posted to Buffett’s official website and social media pages announced his passing on Friday at age 76. In the statement, it was revealed that Buffett had been battling Merkel Cell Skin Cancer for four years.
According to the MD Anderson Cancer Center, Merkel Cell Skin Cancer is a rare form of skin cancer that appears as red, shiny nodules on the face, hands, and neck. The Mayo Clinic states Merkel cell carcinoma often develops in older people and that long-term exposure or a weak immune system may increase your risk of developing it. Despite the diagnosis, Buffett was still performing during treatment.
The family also asked in lieu of flowers, that fans donate to Houston-based MD Anderson Cancer Center, Jimmy Buffett's Foundation Singing for Change, Brigham and Women's Hospital, or the Dana Farber Cancer Institute.
Buffett built an empire based largely on Caribbean-flavored pop that celebrated the Florida Keys, sunshine and nightlife. His name became synonymous with a laid-back subtropical party vibe, and his fans were known as Parrotheads.
But behind the laid-back exterior, Buffett was an admitted workaholic. He expanded into novels, nightclubs and many other ventures. At one time his estimated annual income was more than $40 million, and his revenue sources extended far beyond a musician's typical business model of album sales, concert tickets and souvenir T-shirts.
He landed at No. 18 in Forbes’ list of the Richest Celebrities of All Time with a net worth of $1 billion.