Radio legend Casey Kasem dead at 82 - Tucson News Now

Radio legend Casey Kasem dead at 82

Updated:
Casey Kasem's voice graced radio waves for decades as host of  the "American Top 40" countdown show. (Source: Alan Light/Flickr) Casey Kasem's voice graced radio waves for decades as host of the "American Top 40" countdown show. (Source: Alan Light/Flickr)
The iconic radio host also lent his voice to animated characters, including Shaggy on "Scooby-Doo." (Source: CNN) The iconic radio host also lent his voice to animated characters, including Shaggy on "Scooby-Doo." (Source: CNN)

(RNN) - Radio legend Casey Kasem has died, according to his daughter Kerri Kasem. He was 82.

Kerri Kasem said, on her Facebook page, he died surrounded by family and friends on Father's Day.

She wrote: 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. 

Tensions between his wife, Jean, and his children have played out publicly in court as his health declined. His daughter was granted authority to determine his medical care by a California court after his kids argued their stepmother would not allow them to see their dad.

Kasem's children had reported him missing in May, but Kasem was later discovered to be staying with his wife and some friends in the Seattle area. Daughter Kerri Kasem was allowed to take him to see a doctor of her choosing, but another incident took place between Jean and the children when the stepmother threw raw meat at them.

On June 11, a judge allowed Casey Kasem to be removed from feeding and hydration tubes at the request of his daughter.

Kasem has been the voice of the nationally syndicated radio show American Top 40 since it launched in 1970.

His countdown format and biographical tidbits about the artists, which Kasem pioneered, along with his long-distance dedications became hallmarks of the weekly program. He also coined his signature phrase, "Keep your feet on the ground, and keep reaching for the stars."

He eventually retired from hosting the show in January 2004 and turned over the reins to Ryan Seacrest. However, Kasem continued to host American Top 20 and American Top 10 until they were canceled in 2009.

Before hosting the popular radio programs, Kasem had a broadcast career that was already two decades in the making. That included an assignment as a disc jockey on the Armed Services Network after he was drafted into the Army and sent to Korea in 1952.

He also had a successful TV career as a voice actor, most famously as the voice of "Shaggy" in the 1970s cartoon Scooby-Doo.

Kemal Amin Kasem was born in Detroit on April 27, 1932 to Lebanese immigrants.

His career as an actor on national radio shows began while he was majoring in speech communication at Wayne State University.

After college, Kasem worked at radio stations in his hometown and throughout the Midwest and New York before settling in Los Angeles.

Kasem's second wife, Jean, revealed in court documents related to a lawsuit filed by a former caregiver that he was terminally ill. Jean Kasem said that her husband was unable to leave their house.

Kasem has been battling Parkinson's disease and may have early onset dementia, according to a separate court filing by one of his children. In a conservatorship petition Julie Kasem and her husband filed in October 2013, she claims her father has been isolated from his three children, whom he had with his first wife.

A Los Angeles judge denied that request a month later, ruling that Jean Kasem was giving her late husband "good to excellent care."

Legal trouble and controversy surrounding the family did not end there.

The late radio personality's former caretaker, Hilda Loza, won a lawsuit in December 2013, claiming Jean Kasem accused Loza of stealing and subjected her to emotional abuse. A judge ruled in favor of Loza, awarding her $10,000 and court costs.

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