June 15, 2014


Influential DJ Casey Kasem Dead at 82

Chris Polk/FilmMagic
Chris Polk/FilmMagic

Influential DJ Casey Kasem died today, according to a post on his daughter's Facebook page. He was 82. 

"Early this Father’s Day morning, our dad Casey Kasem passed away surrounded by family and friends," Kerri Kasem wrote. "Even though we know he is in a better place and no longer suffering, we are heartbroken. Thank you for all your love, support and prayers. The world will miss Casey Kasem, an incredible talent and humanitarian; we will miss our Dad."

Kasem passed away days after a judge permitted for food and water to be withheld from Kasem, reportedly suffering with advanced Parkinson's disease. He was also diagnosed with Lewy body dementia last year and has been unable to speak since.

Kasem was the center of a recent family spat that involved a judge granting care of Kasem to his daughter Kerri Kasem instead of his wife Jean. For several days in May, Kasem's whereabouts were unknown, which set off a frantic search. He eventually turned up at a facility in Washington State, where he and Jean were reportedly "visiting friends." 

Kasem first got his start in the music business in Flint, Michigan, in the early '50s and worked as a DJ in numerous cities around the country throughout the '60s. On July 4, 1970, he launched what would become his most famous calling card: "American Top 40," which ran for 18 years and was syndicated across the country. 

His iconic voice wasn't just confined to the radio. Throughout his career in entertainment, Kasem was a sought-after voice actor. In the late '60s, he voiced Robin in Batman cartoons as well as everybody's favorite cartoon stoner, Shaggy, of Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!

He was inducted in the National Hall of Broadcasters Hall of Fame in 1985. Check out one of the first minutes of the first broadcast below, where he introduces Marvin Gaye: