Jimmy Buffett, the laid-back singer-songwriter known for his Gulf Coast style best showcased in songs like “Margaritaville”, has died after a four-year fight with a rare form of skin cancer. He was 76.

“Jimmy passed away peacefully on the night of September 1st surrounded by his family, friends, music and dogs,” according to a statement posted to social media. “He lived his life like a song till the very last breath and will be missed beyond measure by so many.”

Buffett postponed a number of concerts this year and last following a pair of separate hospitalizations. His last live appearance was a surprise 45-minute performance at Sunset Cove in Portsmouth, RI back on July 2nd.

Over the course of a 50-plus-year career, Buffett developed a devoted cult-like following known as Parrotheads devoted to his easygoing philosophy. Combining country twang with singalong soft rock and calypso sounds inspired by his early coastal upbringing, Buffett carved out a distinct place in the musical landscape. He is best known for what his fans have dubbed “The Big 8”, his eight biggest hits he plays at almost every show, “Margaritaville”, “Come Monday”, “Fins”, “Volcano”, and “Cheeseburger in Paradise”.

Beyond his extensive discography, the enterprising musician became the mogul of the vast Margaritaville empire. Building on the success and style of his hits, what began as a franchise of restaurants has ballooned into hotel chains, resorts, and in recent years even retirement communities. All of this combined with his music catalog gave the artist an estimated worth of $1 billion.

Born James William Buffett on December 25th, 1946 in Pascagoula, MI, it was Buffett’s early life in the Gulf Coast region that left an indelible impact on his music. It was also where he developed his lifelong devotion to sailing. He grew up in Mobile, AL and graduated from the University of Southern Mississippi in 1969 with a bachelor’s degree in history. After first developing his musical inclinations in college, he honed his craft in Nashville and released a country-focused 1970 debut album, Down to Earth.

But it was Buffett’s 1971 relocation to Key West, FL that would make the biggest impact on his stylistic bent. Adopting the coastal sounds of calypso mixed with emerging country rock, Buffett found Florida’s answer to Laurel Canyon. Through the rest of the 1970s, Buffett released a string of albums containing his biggest hits and “Big 8” members “Why Don’t We Get Drunk”, “A Pirate Looks At 40”, and more. Of course, his biggest success came with 1977’s Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes featuring his landmark hit “Margaritaville” and 1978’s Son of a Son of a Sailer with “Cheeseburger in Paradise”.

With a stable of hits behind him, Buffett toured prodigiously for decades. His Parrothead followers would adopt a similarly casual style of dress as their leader, adorning tropical shirts and often seeing him several times a year.

In the 21st century, he found further musical success in collaborations. His 2003 hit with Alan Jackson “It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere” marked his biggest Billboard hit since “Margaritaville”. In 2011, he partnered with Zac Brown Band for “Knee Deep” which nearly passed his charting record yet again.