Radio Icon Casey Kasem Passes

Casey Kasem

Casey Kasem

Legendary radio host Casey Kasem died early Sunday (June 15) at age 82. He had been hospitalized in Washington state for two weeks and was suffering from progressive dementia.

“Early this Father’s Day morning, our dad Casey Kasem passed away surrounded by family and friends,” his children Kerri, Mike and Julie wrote in a statement released by Kasem’s representative, Danny Deraney. “Even though we know he is in a better place and no longer suffering, we are heartbroken … The world will miss Casey Kasem, an incredible talent and humanitarian; we will miss our Dad.”

Julie Kasem is planning a memorial celebration at her Northridge, California home on Saturday, June 21. No other funeral arrangements have been announced.

Known for the trademark line, “Keep your feet on the ground, and keep reaching for the stars,” Casey Kasem’s voice was part of the soundtrack to the lives of several generations of Americans.

Kemal Amin Kasem was born in Detroit in 1932. After work as a DJ on the Armed Forces Radio Network during Korea, he joined KRLA in Los Angeles in 1963.

He went on to host “American Top 40” in 1970. The syndicated show began on seven radio stations and quickly became a mainstay of thousands worldwide. “America’s Top 10” was a TV show hosted by Kasem.

In 1988 Kasem signed with Westwood One and started a show called “Casey’s Top 40.” A decade passed before he acquired the name “American Top 40” and resumed hosting the program. He passed the baton to Ryan Seacrest in 2004, though he continued with two other shows, “American Top 20” and “American Top 10,” until signing off in 2009.

Kasem was also the voice of the character of Shaggy on the cartoon Scooby-Doo.

Kasem is survived by his second wife, Jean, whom he married in 1985; and four children.

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Sarah Skates has worked in the music business for more than a decade and is a longtime contributor to MusicRow.

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