Legendary radio personality Casey Kasem, 82, dead
Radio and voice over legend Casey Kasem has died after a long illness. Kasem suffered from Lewy body disease, a progressive form of dementia, which left him unable to speak, eat or move on his own. He was transferred to hospice care in Washington state shortly before his death.
Kerri Kasem, his daughter, announced the news on her Facebook page Sunday.
“Early this Father's Day morning, our dad Casey Kasem passed away surrounded by family and friends,” KerriKasem 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. With love, Kerri, Mike and Julie.”
Born Kemal Amin Kasem on April 27, 1932 in Detroit, Michigan, Kasem was the son of Lebanese immigrant parents.
A graduate of Wayne State University in Detroit, Kasem began his radio career in Flint, Michigan in the early 1950s. He was soon drafted into the Army and served in Korea, where he worked as a disc jockey and announcer on the Armed Forces Radio Korea Network.
Once he returned to the U.S., Kasem continued to develop his radio skills, working as a DJ at radio stations inSan Francisco, Oakland, Cleveland, Buffalo and Los Angeles. Then Kasem got the break that would make him a household name.
On Jul. 4, 1970, he launched the national radio show “American Top 40.” The weekly program, which featuredKasem counting down the most popular songs in the country, became a smash hit and remained on the air until 1988. Kasem re-launched the show in 1998, which Ryan Seacrest currently hosts.
Kasem was also the voice of Shaggy on the animated series “Scooby Doo,” and he had parts in several movies including the 1967 film “Mouth,” “Knife” in 1969 and he had a small role in “The Cycle Savages,” which starredBruce Dern, according to Kasem's IMDB page.
The radio personality's later years were marred by a bitter family dispute over his care, between his wife Jean and his children from an earlier marriage.