Key West pays tribute to the man whose music launched the Margaritaville mentality. LARRY BLACKBURN/Keys Weekly

Stars fell on Alabama tonight with news from the coconut telegraph that James William “Jimmy” Buffett has taken his last trip around the sun. Despite rumors that Buffett has been wasting away in Margaritaville for many years, reports indicate that he died after suffering a Tampico trauma while surfing in a hurricane. 

Authorities do not believe foul play was involved, but they are still investigating a Cuban crime of passion.

Known for his kindness, humor, velvety voice and pencil-thin mustache, the loss of Buffett is a permanent reminder of a temporary feeling.

As the son of a son of a sailor, Jimmy traveled the world, bringing smiles to faces and changes in attitudes with every latitude he crossed. He went to Paris, the coast of Marseille, and said “hello, Texas” with the cowboy in the jungle.

 The wino and I know about his Jamaica mistaica, but that didn’t stop Jimmy. He explored a volcano in Mexico one day and was off to see the lizard on a slow boat to China the next. When asked why he embarked on these chill-licensing missions, Jimmy replied, “It’s my job.” Oh, the stories we could tell.

Jimmy’s ashes are to be scattered in the Bama breeze, followed by a party at the end of the world. Boat drinks will be served at 5 o’clock somewhere, so why don’t we get drunk as we raise our tin cup chalice for a final toast? 

Lord knows we have a lot to drink about. Light snacks will be served, including fruitcakes, grapefruit, Juicy Fruit, the last mango in Paris, and cheeseburgers in paradise. Elvis imitators will provide entertainment, and musicians can bring their instruments and play for gumbo. I wish lunch could last forever, but life is just a tire swing.

Jimmy Buffett is survived by his wife, Jane; daughters, Savannah and Sarah; son, Cameron; and sisters, Laurie and Lucy. He also leaves us Frank & Lola, Spider-John, Captain America, Bob Roberts, Delaney, Desdemona and Sweet Caroline. Savannah, fare you well.

We all thought Jimmy would be the last man standing, but now it is time to go home, back to the island, to the beach house on the moon. And we can pray for that Blue Heaven rendezvous with Jimmy, but God don’t own a car. There will be no plane on Sunday, but come Monday, It will be alright. It’s been a lovely cruise, Jimmy, and as we stand here living and dying in ¾ time, if the phone doesn’t ring … well, we’ll know that it’s you.

An empty chair on stage at Margaritaville in Key West honors Jimmy Buffett, who created the song that inspired the bar, the lifestyle and the business empire. LARRY BLACKBURN/Keys Weekly
Notes, flowers and ‘lost shakers of salt’ are left in tribute outside Jimmy Buffett’s recording studio, Shrimp Boat Sound, at Key West’s Historic Seaport the day after the singer’s death. LARRY BLACKBURN/Keys Weekly
More than 2,500 people fill Key West’s Duval Street in front of Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville on Sept. 3 to pay tribute to the late singer/songwriter. LARRY BLACKBURN/Keys Weekly
Key West businessman Paul Menta, with megaphone, leads the Second Line tribute parade for the late Jimmy Buffett down Duval Street on Sept. 3, stopping for a moment of silence in front of Margaritaville. LARRY BLACKBURN/Keys Weekly
David Sloan researches intriguing stories from Key West's past to share island history people might not hear on the Conch Train.