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On Friday, the surfing world lost one of its musical mascots when iconic singer and ocean lover Jimmy Buffett passed away at 76. An obituary on his website stated that the “Margaritaville” singer died from complications from Merkel Cell Skin Cancer , an aggressive form of cancer he was diagnosed with four years ago. The man continued to perform his classics like, “It’s Five O’clock Somewhere” and “A Pirate Looks at 40,” even after his diagnosis. Many of those classics have been covered by other well-known musicians like Jack Johnson and the Dave Mathews Band – not to mention Kelly Slater and Steph Gilmore.

And it was well-known that Jimmy loved to surf. And sail. And generally live a life centered around the water. He formed what sounds like a really cool relationship with Kelly, who paid tribute to the King of the Parrots over the weekend:

I grew up listening to @jimmybuffett with my family. His music basically outlined the lives we desired…fishing, diving, dreaming about being in the tropics, playing music, and just living the dream. I met Jimmy in France in 2010 about 8 years or so after my dad died and the first day I told him how much he reminded me of my own father and from that moment on he kind of became a surrogate to me, occasionally calling me from some far off land telling me he missed me and I had to come visit him wherever he was. 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. He laughed about making a living out of 3 chord songs and once told me, ‘Ya know, if Jack (@jackjohnson) would just let me do his marketing I could make him a looooot of money!’. Yesterday Jimmy passed on to the next life. And I’m having a tough time accepting that. But I do feel blessed to have had some really incredible memories every single time I hung out with him, whether it was him flying me to my brother’s bachelor party in Key West, joining us for a surf and a dinner in Hossegor, making me play a song with him at his restaurant, or giving me his guest house in Palm Beach for the night and taking me for a round of golf the next day. I really don’t want to believe such a fine man is gone but I’m thankful and lucky for the times we had. It’s 5 o’clock somewhere, Jimmy, and I know you’d be smoking a joint with a drink in your hand and a huge smile on your face like any good pirate would. Thanks for being one of the good guys. It was a real dream to know you. 🥲 And as he always signed off…Fins Up!

Jimmy Buffet, who never took himself too seriously, was a helluva writer (not just songs, either), and lived an absolutely charmed water life, has moved on to the next world. And ocean lovers everywhere are now lesser for it. RIP JB…


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