News of the 76-year-old singer's passing hit headlines this weekend and while his cause of death remained a mystery for a little while, it was officially revealed in his obituary.
"The beloved singer-songwriter Jimmy Buffett passed away at his home in Sag Harbor, Long Island on Friday September 1, 2023 surrounded by family and friends. Buffett, 76, had been fighting Merkel Cell Skin Cancer for four years. He continued to perform during treatment, playing his last show, a surprise appearance in Rhode Island, in early July," the obituary noted, in part.
With songs like "Margaritaville" and "Cheeseburger in Paradise" there is no denying Buffet was an outspoken beach-lover with a passion for the laid-back coastal lifestyle in which he helped to create.
Unfortunately, Buffets cause of death serves as a reminder for many that the "salt life" can be dangerous.
Merkel Cell Skin Cancer is an aggressive and rare form of skin cancer, according to the Miami Cancer Institute.
"This type of skin cancer can appear as a single, painless bump on sun-exposed skin like on the head, neck, arms, legs and midsection," the institue's website states, furthering that those who spend a lot of time in the sun are among those at greatest risk for this disease.
Currently, the Center for Disease Control's webpage on National Center for Health Statistics for Florida has cancer as the state's second leading causes of death, only behind heart disease, and a post on the AIM foundation's website says "Florida ranks second in the nation for the highest rate of new melanoma cases."
Thankfully, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), many skin cancer cases can be prevented by reducing intentional UV exposure and increasing sun protection.
The HHS notes that skin cancer poses a substantial health burden in the U.S., resulting in millions of cases diagnosed each year, leading to substantial healthcare costs and loss of life. UV radiation, especially from the sun and indoor tanning devices, plays a significant role in the development of skin cancer, underscoring the importance of prevention strategies such as promoting sun-safe behaviors, enhancing education, and implementing policies to limit UV exposure.