Jimmy Buffett, whose death at the age of 76 was announced Saturday, died of complications from Merkel cell skin cancer, according to a statement published on the singer’s website.
The celebrated singer had been diagnosed with skin cancer four years ago, and he continued to perform during treatment, according to the site. His last performance was a surprise appearance in Rhode Island in early July.
TMZ was the first to report on Buffet’s cancer diagnosis.
“He lived his life in the sun, literally and figuratively,” a close friend told TMZ.
The remark echoed the statement initially published on the singer’s website Saturday, which was later updated with details on the cause of death.
“Jimmy passed away peacefully on the night of September 1st surrounded by his family, friends, music and dogs,” the statement said. “He lived his life like a song till the very last breath and will be missed beyond measure by so many.”
Merkel cell carcinoma is a rare, aggressive form of skin cancer that has a high risk of returning and spreading, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation. There are about 3,000 new cases diagnosed annually in the U.S.
Known for 1970s hits like “Margaritaville” and “Cheeseburger in Paradise,” Buffett maintained an almost-constant touring schedule nearly until his death. His distinctive “tropical rock” style and the laid-back party atmosphere of his concerts won him numerous devoted fans, known as “Parrotheads.”
In May, he had rescheduled a show in South Carolina, citing health problems.
“Growing old is not for sissies, I promise you,” he said at the time.
Liza Hearon contributed to this report.