US 'top 40' DJ Casey Kasem dies at 82

US 'top 40' DJ Casey Kasem dies at 82

Sunday, June 15, 2014 8:40 pm

WASHINGTON (AFP) – Casey Kasem, an American disc jockey and radio personality who hosted “top 40” countdown shows broadcast across the country for nearly 40 years, died on Sunday. He was 82.

Kasem — also the distinctive voice of “Shaggy” in the television hit cartoon “Scooby-Doo” — began his popular “American Top 40” radio broadcast in 1970, counting down Billboard magazine’s Hot 100 chart of top hits.

Stations across the country quickly picked up the up-beat show, in which top hits were played alongside song dedications, anecdotes and biographical information about artists.

Kasem at the 41st Annual Emmy Awards on September 17, 1989

Kasem at the 41st Annual Emmy Awards on September 17, 1989

Kasem died in Gig Harbor, Washington state, publicist Danny Deraney said. He suffered from Lewy body dementia, which causes a decline in mental capabilities.

“Early this Father’s Day morning, our dad Casey Kasem passed away surrounded by family and friends,” his children Kerri, Mike and Julie said in a statement.

“Even though we know he is in a better place and no longer suffering, we are heartbroken.”

In the weeks leading up to his death, Kasem’s family became embroiled in a legal battle in which the three adult children — from a previous marriage — disagreed with his wife, the actress Jean Kasem, over his end-of-life treatment, US media reported.

A California judge in May gave his daughter Kerri temporary power of attorney after his wife removed him from a nursing home, CNN reported.

In 1989, Kasem began “Casey’s Top 40” after a contract disagreement with his syndication company, although a decade later he returned to the airwaves under the show title “American Top 40.”

Showbiz personality Ryan Seacrest took over the broadcast in 2004 and Kasem retired in 2009.

Kasem was also an NBC promotional announcer in the 1970s and ’80s and his voice was featured in television commercials.

Kasem also hosted an “America’s Top 10” television version of his radio show.

He was born in Detroit to Lebanese-immigrant parents and graduated from Wayne State University.

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