WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Singer-songwriter Jimmy Buffett had been fighting Merkel skin cancer at the time of his death Friday, according to an updated obituary posted Sunday.
Buffett, a long-time part-time resident of Palm Beach County, had the disease for four years but continued to perform during treatment. His last show was a surprise appearance in Rhode Island in early July.
He died at his home in Sag Harbor, Long Island, New York.
He was briefly hospitalized in May after a trip to the Bahamas, CNN reported.
“I had to stop in Boston for a checkup but wound up back in the hospital to address some issues that needed immediate attention,” he told his followers in a social media post.
Buffett posted a day later that he was soon headed home from the hospital, and thanked his followers for the “outpouring of support and well wishes.”
Buffett, who did not share what was ailing him, said that he’d be going on a “fishing trip with old friends, along with paddling and sailing and get myself back in good shape” upon his return home from the hospital.
Buffett popularized beach bum soft rock with the escapist Caribbean-flavored song "Margaritaville" and turned that celebration of loafing into an empire of restaurants, resorts and frozen concoction.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to Jimmy Buffett’s Foundation Singing for Change, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Dana Farber Cancer Institute or MD Anderson Cancer Center.
The National Cancer Institute describes Merkel as a rare carcinoma which usually appears as a single painless lump on sun-exposed skin and tends to metastasize quickly.
It is second to melanoma as the most common cause of skin cancer death.
About 2,000 cases are diagnosed in the United States each year, according to the American Cancer Society. More than 4 out of 5 Americans diagnosed with MCC are older than age 70. And men are nearly two times more likely to have it compared with women.
These cells are close to the nerve endings that receive the sensation of touch.
Merkel cell carcinoma starts most often in areas of skin exposed to the sun, especially the head and neck, as well as the arms, legs, and trunk.
Merkel can be diagnosed through a physical exam and health history, full-body skin exam and skin biopsy.
Treatment includes surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, immunotherapy.