DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - It was a somber day in paradise on Saturday, with the news that singer Jimmy Buffett, America’s beach balladeer and tropical troubadour had passed away at age 76.
"We always looked forward to the summer to go to his concerts, and it was the biggest party you'll ever see," said Buffett fan David Robertson.
Buffett was famous for easygoing songs like 'Cheeseburger in Paradise, 'Son of a Son of a Sailor' and his iconic mega-hit 'Margaritaville.' Much of his music epitomized the beach-going Florida lifestyle of year-round sunglasses, board shorts, and flip-flops, sailing and sunsets.
"Laid-back, friendly, easygoing," described Buffett fan Al Beckes.
There was also another side to Jimmy Buffett, one that turned his visions into a reality. Buffett was more than just a beloved entertainer, he was also a shrewd businessman, whose laid-back philosophy has literally left a mark on Central Florida.
Daytona Beach is home to Latitude: Margaritaville, a 55-plus community. The Margaritaville Resort Orlando is in Kissimmee. Both of these embody the singer's sunny, summertime lifestyle, along with other branded hotels and restaurants, nationwide.
"I think they did a good job of training their teams and staffs in these locations on really owning that type of happy, carefree, you're here to slow down, you're not working, you're here to enjoy the great part of life," explained Rob DelliBovi, a hospitality expert, and owner of RDB Hospitality.
DelliBovi said Buffett’s initial ownership of his brand and later licensing of his trademark songs and phrases made the singer a fortune. In 2016, Forbes ascribed him a net worth of $550 million.
DelliBovi said Buffet wasn't about the money though, he was about his fans. "He did this all with a smile on his face and a specific goal of making people happy and having people slow down their lives and enjoy."
Some of Margaritaville Daytona's residents said it was a philosophy that would live on, and music that would continue, while Jimmy had moved on to find his lost shaker of salt.