INDIANAPOLIS — Fans around the world are mourning the loss of the legendary singer/songwriter Jimmy Buffett, who died at the age of 76 Friday.
Buffett's longtime stage manager is an Indy native and is now reflecting and paying tribute to the legend's life and legacy with nothing better than an ice-cold frozen concoction.
"I'm gonna bury myself in margaritas. You know," Tom Battista said.
Battista, also the owner of Kan Kan Cinema and Restaurant, spent summers on the road with the iconic musician who brought those chasing the laidback lifestyle together.
"Jimmy had such a great life, and he spread joy everywhere he went," Battista said.
Battista got to know the man behind all the beach bum anthems and travel the world with a close friend — granted Battista usually couldn't remember the words to his songs.
"He always made fun of me because I couldn't repeat the lyrics if I had to," Battista said.
Regardless, Battista saw how the music Buffett made affected people. Battista also said the legendary artist was just as down-to-earth backstage as he was on stage.
"He at dinner with us every night. He wasn't a 'Prima Donna,'" Battista said. "His legacy is have a good time you know, be honest, work hard, and play hard, and that's what he did ... he played hard," Battista said.
There is one specific show the stage manager will never forget at the Naval Academy when the power went out.
"Jimmy says 'give me an acoustic guitar,' and he went down, sat on the edge of the stage and did a sing-a-long," Battista said. "One of the people threw this (his hat) up onstage, so I kept it. All of those midshipmen, they're all gonna remember it for the rest of their lives."
While it is hard for him to say goodbye, Battista is happy to reflect on the person Buffett was.
"It's hard, but God, what a great guy," Battista said.
Buffett had been battling a rare form of skin cancer in recent years.
He had built more than just a music presence — Buffett also created restaurants, books, beers and even a Broadway show.