Fans Make The World ‘Margaritaville’ With Touching Tributes To Jimmy Buffett

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KEY WEST, Florida (AP) — All the world was “Margaritaville” on Saturday, from Key West to New York City and beyond, as legions of fans mourned the passing of beach-bum balladeer Jimmy Buffett at the age of 76.

Buffett’s eponymous hit song has long been the anthem of Florida’s Key West, where Buffett once lived and built his enduring legacy.

“Everybody equates that song with our city,” said Clayton Lopez, a Key West city commissioner. “I mean, when you say Margaritaville, you’re talking about the city of Key West.”

The community planned a remembrance Sunday along Duval Street, home to some of Key West’s most well-known eateries and music venues, including the Chart Room, a dive bar where Buffett sang early in his career.

“He’s doing another show now, but it’s in the sky,” said Jimmy Weekley, who owns Fausto, a restaurant that is one of Key West’s landmarks.

Susan Hudnall pins a condolence note about Jimmy Buffett’s death to the front window of the Margaritaville Cafe in Key West, Florida on Saturday. Buffett, who popularized beach bum soft rock with the escapist Caribbean-flavored song “Margaritaville” and turned that celebration of loafing into a billion-dollar empire of restaurants, resorts and frozen concoctions, died Friday.

Rob O’Neal/Florida Keys News Bureau via AP

Buffett’s fandom was widespread, and tributes poured in Saturday.

President Joe Biden sent condolences to Buffett’s family “and to the millions of fans who will continue to love him even as his ship now sails for new shores.” Former President Bill Clinton wrote on X, formerly Twitter, that Buffett’s “music brought happiness to millions of people.” Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys wrote: “Love and Mercy, Jimmy Buffett,” and Paul McCartney called him “one of the kindest and most generous people.”

Matt Urben, a self-described Parrothead, as Buffett fans are known, and a Brooklyn resident, awoke to news of Buffett’s death. He joined other fans in New York City for a reminiscence. They were special and fun. … Just so many stories and so many memories.”

Afterward, he and a buddy headed to the Margaritaville restaurant in Times Square — part of the Buffett business empire — which describes itself as “an island-inspired oasis in the middle of New York City.”

When “Margaritaville” played, Reid Johnson sang along. By no means a Parrothead, he said, “I’m very familiar with his music.”

Meagan Bryon of Hoboken, New Jersey, places a “lost shaker of salt” at an impromptu memorial for Jimmy Buffett outside the singer-songwriter’s Shrimpboat Sound recording studio on Saturday in Key West, Florida.

Meagan Bryon of Hoboken, New Jersey, places a "lost shaker of salt" at an impromptu memorial for Jimmy Buffett outside the singer-songwriter's Shrimpboat Sound recording studio on Saturday in Key West, Florida.
Rob O’Neal/Florida Keys News Bureau via AP

Jeanne Fetner had traveled from Northern Virginia with her daughter Avery to visit colleges in New York City when she heard the news. Fetner said that she and her friends went to Buffett’s house to knock on the door. Savannah Buffett appeared to the group and said that her father couldn’t make it out, but wanted to thank them for coming. He makes people happy.”

Calvan reported from New York City.