Casey Kasem, Top 40 Countdown King, Dies at 82

The Slatest
Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
June 15 2014 1:17 PM

Casey Kasem, Top 40 Countdown King, Dies at 82

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Kasey Casem with his award backckstage at the 2003 Radio Music Awards at the Aladdin Casino Resort in Las Vegas

Photo by Carlo Allegri/Getty Images

Casey Kasem, whose voice came to represent Top 40 radio as the host of countdown shows for decades, died early Sunday morning. Kerri Kasem, Casey's daughter, announced the news of his passing on her Facebook page.

When Kasem did his first American Top 40 show in 1970, the top song was Mama Told Me Not to Come by Three Dog Night, notes the Associated Press. He hosted American Top 40 for a total of 24 years, from 1970-1988 and then from 1998-2004, when he passed the torch on to Ryan Seacrest, notes People. In that decade-long gap he hosted a number of other countdown shows, which he continued to do until July 2009. Throughout all the years, Kasem’s signoff became legendary: “And don’t forget: keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars.” Although best known for his radio work, Kasem was also an actor and did voice-over work on a number of animated shows, including the role of Shaggy on Scooby Doo.

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Recently, Kasem had been in the news due to the legal battle over his care between his wife, Jean Kasem, and his grown children from his first marriage. Kasem had advanced Parkinson’s disease and suffered from dementia. In 2013, his children filed a petition to take control of his health care, alleging his wife was trying to isolate him from friends and family. On June 11, a judge ruled that Kasem’s daughter could withhold food and medicine from her ailing father, reports the Los Angeles Times. Kerri Kasem also wrote about that decision on Facebook:

Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the "Today's Papers" column from 2006 to 2009. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoliti.

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