Radio Icon Casey Kasem Dies at 82

Casey Kasem (Photo: AP)
Casey Kasem (Photo: AP)

Casey Kasem, a radio voice who connected generations of Americans to thousands of rock and pop acts died Sunday morning, according to multiple media outlets. He was 82.

Kerri Kasem, Casey’s daughter, announced the news on her Facebook page.

“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,” she wrote in a Facebook post. “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, hospitalized in Washington state since June 1, had been in declining health.

The longtime host of radio’s American Top 40, which he started in 1970, was a familiar voice to millions, known for his signature closing advice: “Keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars.” Over the years, he hosted other versions of the music countdown show on radio and television.

The Detroit native, a son of Lebanese immigrants, also was an actor who did frequent voiceover work, including commercials and cartoon characters, most memorably Shaggy from the Scooby-Doo series.

Kasem had been in the news recently with his care the focus of a litigious dispute between his wife, Jean Kasem, and his grown children. For a time earlier this year, his children did not know his whereabouts.

The retired host was taken to a hospital in Washington state following a dispute between his daughter, Kerri Kasem, and her stepmother, Jean.

A judge ruled June 11 that Kasem’s daughter, Kerri, was allowed to withhold medication, food and fluids from her father, who was ailing from sepsis and dementia, as well as Parkinson’s.

Shortly after the judge’s ruling, Kerri wrote on Facebook, “For people who do not understand the natural dying process: Giving food and water to a dying body creates pain and further suffering. The body does not want or require food or water anymore in the dying process. My father can no longer digest foods and fluids fill his lungs up and will suffocate him. My Dad IS on pain meds.”

Click here to read more.

SOURCE: USA Today
Bill Keveney

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