Jimmy Buffett, who popularized his own style of tropical vacation soft rock and reached billionaire status earlier this year according to Forbes after rebranding his “Margaritaville” and “Cheeseburger in Paradise” aesthetic into a chain of resorts and restaurants passed away Friday night at the age of 76.
Buffett, known for his casual island escape brand of music with songs including “It’s 5 O’Clock Somewhere” and “Son of a Son of a Sailor,” died Friday night surrounded by his family, according to a statement on the singer’s website.
The statement did not provide a specific cause of death, though Buffett had been struggling with health complications in recent years, postponing a South Carolina concert in May after being hospitalized in the Bahamas, as well as a festival performance in Milwaukee.
Buffett had been added to Forbes’ billionaires list in April, generating his wealth not only through ticket revenue from nationwide stadium tours and his expansive music catalog, but from his Margarita Holdings chain of merchandise, resorts and restaurants he created with a focus on his brand of his carefree, tropical escape music.
We estimate Buffett’s net worth to be roughly $1 billion, as of this week, making him the world’s 2,543rd richest person. In addition to his music empire, Buffett also owned a 28% stake in Margarita Holdings, valued at roughly $180 million. His assets also include roughly $570 million from his more than five decades of touring and recording, plus $140 million in private planes and homes—including an estate in St. Barts he has called home for three decades.
Buffett also owned shares in investment giant Berkshire Hathaway, the conglomerate owned by billionaire Warren Buffett, according to Forbes (the two are not related). When asked about the connection in April, Warren Buffett, the world’s fifth-richest person, told Forbes: “Tell Jimmy to keep me in his will!”
Buffett broke through on the charts with his 1977 hit “Margaritaville,” from his album Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes, which went platinum, garnering a loyal following of so-called Parrotheads. He came back with “Cheeseburger in Paradise,” off his 1978 album Son of a Son of a Sailor, and continued putting out music into the 2000s, releasing with Alan Jackson in 2003 “It’s 5 O’Clock Somewhere,” which spent eight weeks at the top of BillBoard’s country charts. In 1985, Buffett founded Margaritaville Holdings as promotional side business to his music career, using the company to concert tickets and merchandise, before incrementally expanding the business to include resort destinations and restaurants, as well as home decoration, tequila and margarita mixes, pool floats and pickleball sets. Buffett told Forbes in December he never envisioned creating a brand of music uniquely his own until he moved from Nashville as an up-and-coming country musician to the Florida Keys.
New Billionaires 2023: Jimmy Buffett, LeBron James And 148 Others Join The Ranks This Year (Forbes)
Why Warren Buffett Wants Jimmy Buffett To Write Him Into His Will (Forbes)