Jimmy Buffet's Legacy
- Jimmy Buffett passed away at age 76 on September 1, 2023, after his battle with Merkel cell skin cancer (an aggressive and rare type of skin cancer that tends to grow quickly and has a high rate of metastatic disease).
- Now, the late singer’s guitarist Mac McAnally, a singer-songwriter known being part of Buffett’s Coral Reefer band, is recounting his last visit with Buffet, who urged him and others to “keep the party going” in his memory.
- Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC), known also as neuroendocrine carcinoma of the skin, is an aggressive type of skin cancer that is rare but increasing in occurrence. While not as famous as melanoma, its lesser-known status doesn’t make it any less significant.
- MCC is a critically serious condition due to its tendency to metastasize or spread, to nearby lymph nodes or other parts of the body. This is why early diagnosis and treatment are so vital.
- Coping with grief after the loss of a loved one, or after a diagnosis of a disease like cancer, can be helped by seeing a psychiatrist, counselor, or oncological social worker. You don’t have to suffer through your grief alone. Seek outside support when you’ve lost someone close to you.
The “Margaritaville” singer, who lost his battle with Merkel cell skin cancer (an aggressive and rare type of skin cancer that tends to grow quickly and has a high rate of metastatic disease) on September 1, 2023, was visited in his final hours by his guitarist Mac McAnally, a singer-songwriter known being part of Buffett’s Coral Reefer band.Read More
Just a couple of guys doing what they do best! pic.twitter.com/YXmdwRti1m— Mac McAnally (@macmcanally) March 1, 2020
Referring to seeing Buffett just 24 hours prior to his passing, MacAnally said, “I didn’t know what to say and I didn’t know if I could talk without crying, but I picked up a guitar and played, and we told a couple of tour stories and laughed.
“And he made sure that I knew that he wanted nobody to be sad, and everybody to keep the joy that he started rolling, rolling.”
MacAnally spoke with Fox News Digital before he, along with Kenny Chesney, Alan Jackson and Zac Brown Band, paid tribute to Buffett by playing some of his songs at the CMA Awards last week.
The guitarist continued, “Every connection I’ve ever had with Jimmy means something to me, because I wouldn’t be here without him. But this particular night, when we just put out his last album, which he worked so hard on and put so much joy and labor into… I’m in this tribute with a bunch of people that he loved so much and that, everyone loves Jimmy, but he loved everyone that’s involved in this tribute tonight personally.”
“It means the world. So we’re going to be sending his music out as far as we can send it, and he’s going to be smiling at us, and we know that.”
Remembering Buffett’s attitude toward his death, McAnally insisted the late singer “didn’t want anybody to be sad.”
He added, “Although you can’t help losing somebody that you look up to to that level, but he didn’t want anybody to be sad… we’re not going to be sad tonight.
“We’re gonna send some love out with some Jimmy Buffett music, put our hearts up against the microphone and it’s gonna work, I got a feeling.”
As for what McAnally hopes people will remember most about the late musician, he said, Buffet was “just a big rolling ball of goodwill, and it didn’t matter what level you saw him on.”
“He was really the character that everybody thought he was… he was smiling at everybody he crossed paths with, every day of his life, including the last one,” he concluded.
McAnally previously shared a tribute Twitter post just three weeks after Buffett’s passing, where he also dubbed the late singer as “the closest thing I ever had to a big brother.”
Expert Resources On Skin Cancer
He wrote, “It is my intent to offer comfort and tribute in words and music for the rest of my life. I’m just slow getting up to speed. Jimmy would be laughing at me (or IS laughing) at me for dragging my feet.”
McAnally also noted how Buffett “saw life as a gift to enjoy and his calling was to spread that joy.”
— Mac McAnally (@macmcanally) September 25, 2023
Buffet, who played his last show during a surprise appearance in Rhode Island this past July, passed away at his Sag Harbor, Long Island home, surrounded by his loved ones.
An official obituary shared on his website, says the singer is “survived by his wife of 46 years, Jane (Slagsvol) Buffett, his daughters Savannah Jane (Joshua) and Sarah Delaney, his son Cameron Marley (Lara), his grandson Marley Ray and devoted pack of dogs Lola, Kingston, Pepper, Rosie, Ajax and Kody.
“Also survived by his Montana sister, Laurie Buffett McGuane (Tom), their children Heather Hume, Anne Buffett McGuane, Maggie McGuane and Thomas McGuane IV; his Alabama sister, Lucy Buffett and daughters Mara Delaney Buffett O’Dwyer and Melanie Leigh Buffett; and many more wonderful cousins, nieces and nephews.”
Coping With Grief
Grief is known to “come in waves” and never fully leave you after a loved one has died. To grieve is to have fully loved someone, and that’s a beautiful thing, but the process of grief, can be fulling of missing, longing, and sadness.
Coping with grief after the loss of a loved one, or after a diagnosis of a disease like cancer, can be helped by seeing a psychiatrist, counselor, or oncological social worker.
You don’t have to suffer through your grief alone. Seek outside support when you’ve lost someone close to you.
Understanding Jimmy Buffett’s Skin Cancer, Merkel Cell Carcinoma
Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC), known also as neuroendocrine carcinoma of the skin, is an aggressive type of skin cancer that is rare but increasing in occurrence. While not as famous as melanoma, its lesser-known status doesn’t make it any less significant.
This cancer’s name comes from the fact it originates from Merkel cells, which are found in the top layer of the skin. These cells are mainly involved with our sense of light touch, but have other functions. When these cells become cancerous, we get what is known as Merkel cell carcinoma.
Like many forms of cancer, MCC shows itself as a growth or mass on the skin – often appearing as a painless, firm, shiny lump that is red, purple or skin-colored. While it can appear anywhere on the body, it most commonly forms on sun-exposed areas like the face, neck, arms, and legs.
MCC is a critically serious condition due to its tendency to metastasize or spread, to nearby lymph nodes or other parts of the body. This is why early diagnosis and treatment are so vital.
Treatment Advances for Merkel Cell Carcinoma
For many years, chemotherapy was the only option available as a treatment for Merkel cell carcinoma. This aggressive form of skin cancer usually appears as a single, painless, flesh-colored, or bluish-red nodule, often on your face, head, neck, and arms (skin exposed to sunlight). Fortunately, other treatment options exist for metastatic and advanced forms of the disease.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted accelerated approval to the immunotherapy drug retifanlimab-dlwr (brand name Zynyz) for metastatic or recurrent locally advanced Merkel cell carcinoma.
Zynz is an immune checkpoint inhibitor that explicitly targets proteins found on immune or cancer cells and prevents them from binding together.
The approval was based on the results of a study called PODIUM-201 (NCT03599713), an open-label, multiregional, single-arm study evaluating 65 patients with metastatic or recurrent locally advanced MCC who had not received prior systemic therapy for advanced disease.
“More than a third of patients with MCC present with regional or distant metastases, which are associated with high rates of mortality,” Dr. Shailender Bhatia said in a press release.
Dr. Bhatia is the study’s principal author and director of the Melanoma and Renal Cancer Team at Fred Hutch Cancer Center.
“The approval of Zynyz offers healthcare providers another first-line treatment option against MCC that can result in durable responses in patients with metastatic disease,” Dr. Bhatia added.
Questions to Ask Your Doctor
If you are diagnosed with skin cancer, you may have some questions for your doctor. SurvivorNet suggests some of the following to help you on your cancer journey.
- What type of skin cancer do I have?
- What treatment options exist for my type of melanoma?
- Will insurance cover this treatment?
- Would treatment through a clinical trial make sense for me?
- What resources exist to help manage my anxiety because of this diagnosis?
Contributing: SurvivorNet Staff