Jimmy Buffett reportedly died from rare, aggressive skin cancer

The news of Jimmy Buffett's death sent a shockwave around the U.S. leaving many to wonder how the iconic musician died. 

New details reveal that Buffett died of a rare aggressive form of skin cancer – Merkel Cell Skin Cancer.

What is Merkel Cell Skin Cancer?

Merkel Cell Skin Center tends to spread quickly to other parts of the body to places beyond the skin. 

According to a statement, Buffett had been fighting the cancer for nearly four years while continuing to perform. 

Dermatologist Matthew Knight said he hopes Buffett's death makes people get their skin checked especially while living in Florida. 

"Fortunately the survival rate for Merkel cell carcinoma is still 70, 80 percent - it's not good but it's a decent survival rate, said Knight. 

"The longer you wait and the longer things progress, that survival rate goes further south," Knight added. 

What is the treatment for Merkel Cell Skin Cancer?

There are four different types of treatments used for those who have Merkel Cell Skin Cancer, according to the National Cancer Institute.

  • Surgery - The cancer is cut from the skin or the lymph nodes are surgically removed and a sample of tissue is checked under a microscope for signs of cancer.
  • Radiation therapy - Radiation therapy is a cancer treatment that uses high-energy x-rays or other types of radiation to kill cancer cells or keep them from growing.
  • Chemotherapy - This cancer treatment uses drugs to stop the growth of cancer cells, either by killing the cells or by stopping the cells from dividing
  • Immunotherapy - Immunotherapy is a treatment that uses the patient’s immune system to fight cancer. Substances made by the body or made in a laboratory are used to boost, direct, or restore the body’s natural defenses against cancer.