Radio Legend Casey Kasem Passes Away, Successor Ryan Seacrest Reacts
By Christine Jane Caparras | June 16, 2014 2:00 PM EST
Casey Kasem, the legendary radio personality behind the voice of Shaggy in "Scooby Doo" and the voice and face of the "American Top 40 Countdown" has died at the age of 82.
U.S. television and radio personality Casey Kasem appears on the "American Top 40 Live" show in Los Angeles in this April 24, 2005 file photo. Kasem, 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 on June 15, 2014. He was 82.
Casem had been suffering from Lewy Body Disease. A common form of progressive Dementia. The radio actor passed away on Father's Day as ironically announced by his daughter, Kerri Casem. He was taken off life support and deprived of food and hydration and effectively euthanized to end his suffering.
Just last May, the Casem family hit the headlines as reports emerged that Casey was missing. It eventually turned out that Casey was safely in Washington with his second wife Jean. However, daughter Kerri claimed that Jean was deliberately preventing her from seeing her father. The case was taken to court where Kerri eventually won visitation rights and the ability to make medical decisions on behalf of her father after it was discovered that Jean had taken him from a medical facility in Los Angeles to take him to a friend's place in Washington where he developed a severe bedsore. He was already in critical condition when he was found in early June.
Kasem rose to fame in the 1970's when his program "American Top 40" became syndicated all over the world. Casey would count down the top 40 songs of the week with brief spiels in between with information about the songs and artists. He hosted the program until 1988 at which point it was already syndicated in over 1,000 stations all over the world. "American Idol" Host and radio personality Ryan Seacrest took over the Top 40 program after Casey and was quick to react to the news with a statement:
"It's a sad day for the broadcasting community and for radio listeners around the world. When I was a kid, I would listen to Casey Kasem's AT40 show every weekend, and dream about someday becoming a radio DJ. So when decades later I took over his AT40 countdown show, it was a surreal moment. Casey had a distinctive friendly on-air voice, and he was just as affable and nice if you had the privilege to be in his company. He'll be greatly missed by all of us," said Seacrest.
Kasem's voice talents were not limited to radio as he was also quite an accomplished voice actor. He was the voice behind Shaggy in the Hanna-Barbera cartoon series "Scooby-Doo, Where Are You?" Kasem also voiced several characters in Sesame Street.
Kasem is also one of the most successful vice talents through his long career appearing in thousands of radio commercials and various other voice-over jobs.
Kasem signed off after every broadcast in the same way with the words: "And don't forget: keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars."
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