Casey Kasem, 82, the U.S. radio personality with the distinctive voice who counted down the top pop music hits on his popular weekly show and also provided the voice of hippie sleuth Shaggy on the “Scooby Doo” cartoons, died Sunday.
“Early this Father’s Day morning, our dad, Casey Kasem, passed away surrounded by family and friends,” his daughter, Kerri Kasem, said in a statement posted online. “Even though we know he is in a better place and no longer suffering, we are heartbroken.”
In recent years, Kasem was trapped in a feud between his three adult children and his second wife, former actress Jean Kasem.
In 2013, his children filed a legal petition to gain control of his health care, alleging that Casey Kasem was suffering from advanced Parkinson’s disease and that his wife was isolating him from friends and family members.
He also suffered from lewy body disease, a form of dementia.
Last week Casey Kasem, who had developed a severe bedsore while in Washington, was placed in a Washington state hospital.
He was receiving pain medication, but not food or water, after Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Daniel Murphy determined that feeding him would have been detrimental to his health.
Kemal Amin Kasem was born in 1932 in Detroit, the son of Lebanese immigrants.
He was active in speaking out for greater understanding of Arab-Americans, both on political issues involving the Mideast and on arts and media issues.
Kasem began his broadcasting career in the radio club at Detroit’s Northwestern High School and was soon a disc jockey on WJBK radio in Detroit, initially calling himself Kemal Kasem.
In a 1997 visit with high school students in Dearborn, Michigan, home to a large Arab-American community, he was asked why he changed his name to Casey.
“It didn’t sound like a deejay. It wasn’t hip. So we decided I’d be `Casey at the Mike,’ and I have been since,” Kasem said.
Kasem became perhaps best-known for his “American Top 40,” which began on July 4, 1970, in Los Angeles. The No. 1 song on his list then was “Mama Told Me Not to Come,” by Three Dog Night. He stepped down from “American Top 40” in 2004 and retired altogether in 2009.