Prior to the touching tribute for Jimmy Buffett during the CMA Awards on Wednesday (Nov. 8), guitarist and longtime member of Buffett’s Coral Reefer Band, Mac McAnally, recalled the musician’s advice hours before his death.
While speaking to Fox News Digital at the award show, McAnally stated that he saw Buffett 24 hours before his death on Sept. 1. “He was smiling wider than his head,” McAnally stated. “And saying, ‘What a hell of a ride, keep in going, keep the party going,’ and it’s our intention to do that.”
McAnally also admitted he didn’t know what to say during his final visit with Jimmy Buffett. “I didn’t know if I could talk without crying,” McAnally continued. “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 to keep the joy that he started rolling, rolling.”
Buffett had notably been fighting Merkel Cell Skin Cancer for four years before he died at the age of 76. Despite his condition and treatments, Buffett continued to tour and perform for his Parrot Head fans. His last show was an early July surprise appearance in Rhode Island.
McAnally took to the stage to perform the tribute at the CMA alongside Kenny Chesney, Alan Jackson, and the Zac Brown Band. The musicians performed a medley of Jimmy Buffett’s most well-known tracks, including It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere and Margaritaville.
Mac McAnally Cherishes Every Connection He Ever Had With Jimmy Buffett
While continuing to speak to Fox News Digital about Jimmy Buffett, Mac McAnally stated that he cherishes his longtime friendship with the late musician.
“Every connection I’ve ever had with Jimmy means something to me,” McAnally explained. “Because I wouldn’t be here without him.”
McAnally again pointed out that Buffett did not want anyone to be sad about his passing. “Although you can’t help losing somebody that you look up to, to that level,” he continued. “But he didn’t want anybody to be sad… we’re not going to be sad tonight.”
McAnally also considered the CMA tribute to be extra special. “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.”
The guitarist stated that he, Jackson, Chesney, and the Zac Brown Band were going to Jimmy Buffett’s music out as far as they could send it. “And he’s going to be smiling at us, and we know that.”
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