Jimmy Buffett and Cincinnati had a decades-long connection

CINCINNATI — Iconic singer-songwriter Jimmy Buffett died Friday at the age of 76.

According to Buffet’s official website, he had been battling with Merkel cell skin cancer for four years. Buffett’s family said he was surrounded by “his family, friends, music and dogs.”

“He lived his life like a song till the very last breath and will be missed beyond measure by so many,” Jimmy Buffett’s social media said.

While he had legions of fans across the globe, Cincinnati fans can claim a special distinction.

Buffett was performing at Timberwolf Ampitheater in Kings Island on June 28, 1985, when he noticed several concertgoers wearing parrots on their Hawaiian shirts and sporting parrot hats. It’s believed that in this moment Buffett coined the term “Parrotheads” to describe his most loyal fans.

Cincinnati also gets a shout-out in one of Buffett’s songs. The 1979 song “Fins” is about a woman who “came down from Cincinnati” by train to a beach town, only to be preyed upon by “land sharks,” or bar-dwelling guys.

Buffett performed regularly in the Queen City over his career, playing at Riverbend Music Center more than 50 times. He made sure Cincinnati was a stop on every tour since 1984, interrupted only by COVID-19 closures.

By 1993, Buffett was playing five shows in a row in Cincinnati. The pre-show tailgates were a popular place to connect with other Parrotheads, who often donned bright-colored Hawaiian shirts, leis and more.

Cincinnati is also expected to be home to one of Buffett’s Margaritaville resorts — with an opening date set for February 2026.

Always bringing one of the biggest concerts of the year to the Queen City, Buffett’s last show in Cincinnati was on July 21, 2022 to a sold-out crowd for his Life on the Flip Side Tour.

Earlier in 2023, Buffett had previously canceled a show in Charleston, S.C. in May. The singer was hospitalized for “some issues that needed immediate attention,” but the exact reasoning was never revealed.

“Growing old is not for sissies, I promise you,” Buffett had said at the time.

The singer had planned to begin touring again once his health improved — his last-ever concert was in San Diego on May 6.

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