Radio host Casey Kasem dies at 82
MANILA, Philippines – Legendary radio host Casey Kasem died early Sunday, June 15, at the age of 82.
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."
His daughter, Kerri Kasem, announced his passing in a Facebook post.
Early this Father’s Day morning, our dad Casey Kasem passed away surrounded by family and friends. Even (cont) http://t.co/G4mxcmGWch— Kerri Kasem (@KerriKasem) June 15, 2014
Kasem is most remembered for hosting music countdown shows like "American Top 40" and "Casey's Top 40" for almost 4 decades. He always ended the latter show by saying, "Keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars."
Kasem's health had started to decline in recent years. Before his death, he had spent two weeks in a hospital in Washington state.
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.
Aside from hosting, the Lebanese-born Kasem has voiced Shaggy in the cartoon "Scooby Doo." He was also a devout vegan and an environmental advocate who spoke for animal rights.
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.
Seacrest tweeted a farewell message for Kasem:
Keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars. We’ll miss you, Casey. pic.twitter.com/cxYhONfrqz— Ryan Seacrest (@RyanSeacrest) June 15, 2014
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. – with reports from Agence France-Presse / Rappler.com