Entertainment & Arts

US radio star Casey Kasem dies at 82

Casey Kasem Image copyright Reuters

DJ Casey Kasem, best known for hosting US radio show American Top 40, has died at the age of 82, his daughter has said.

Kasem became a household name in the US after launching the nationally-syndicated show in 1970.

He also voiced cartoon character Shaggy in Scooby-Doo.

He had suffered from Lewy body disease, a form of dementia, and had recently been at the centre of a bitter family court battle over his care.

Image copyright AP
Image caption He received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1981

His death comes days after a judge allowed the star's daughter Kerri to withhold food, liquid and medication from her father against the wishes of his wife of 34 years, Jean.

A message posted on Twitter by Kerri Kasem said: "Early this Father's Day morning, our dad Casey Kasem passed away surrounded by family and friends.

"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 began his career in the 1950s and found fame with the chart programme.

He famously ended his broadcasts with his signature sign-off: "Keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars."

After spells hosting countdown shows under other titles, he returned to American Top 40 in the 1990s and retired from the airwaves in 2009.

Around the world, his radio rundown was broadcast in 50 countries and he was known for the spin-off TV show America's Top 10.

Image copyright Everett Collection/Rex Features
Image caption Kasem was the voice of Shaggy, centre, for 40 years

In Scooby-Doo, Kasem voiced the scruffy, food-loving but sometimes cowardly Shaggy from the first series in 1969 until 1995, and again from 2002 until 2009.

He had numerous other roles in TV shows, animations and commercials over the years.

The veteran presenter received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1981 and was inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame in 1992. In 2003, he was honoured with the Radio Icon award at The Radio Music Awards in Las Vegas.

'One of the greats'

Among those paying tribute were Ryan Seacrest, who took over from Kasem as host of American Top 40 in 2004.

In a statement, Seacrest recalled how he would listen to Kasem every week "and dream about someday becoming a radio DJ".

"Casey had a distinctive friendly on-air voice, and he was just as affable and nice if you had the privilege to be in his company. He'll be greatly missed by all of us," he said.

Rock star Bryan Adams described him as "one of the greats of American radio".

Last month, Jean Kasem moved her husband from a California nursing home to friends in Washington state, after courts in California awarded Kerri temporary conservatorship over her father's care.

Court documents showed that Kasem's daughters Kerri and Julie had accused Jean of "elder abuse" by isolating their father from his children. Kasem and Jean also had a daughter together called Liberty.

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