Legendary broadcaster Casey Kasem dies at 82 - KMSP-TV

Legendary broadcaster Casey Kasem dies at 82

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DETROIT, Mich. (WJBK) - Family, friends and fans worldwide mourned the loss of Detroiter and radio legend Casey Kasem Sunday. The king of the "top 40" countdown died after battling Parkinson's disease and dementia. He was 82.

Click on the video player to watch Randy Wimbley's report.


Kasem's "American Top 40" began 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. The show continued in varying forms -- and for varying syndicators -- until his retirement in 2009. In his signoff, he would tell viewers: "And don't forget: keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars."

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.

A judge in May temporarily stripped his wife of her caretaker role after she moved him from a medical facility in Los Angeles to a friend's home in Washington state. Jean Kasem said she moved her husband to protect his privacy and to consult with doctors. Casey Kasem developed a severe bedsore while in Washington and was in critical condition by the time he was hospitalized in early June.

It was a sad, startling end for a man whose voice had entertained and informed music lovers worldwide.

Kasem was born Kemal Amin Kasem in 1932 in Detroit. He 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.
The son of Lebanese immigrants, Kasem was active in speaking out for greater understanding of Arab-Americans -- both on political issues involving the Mideast and on arts and media issues. 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.

His children, Kerri, Mike and Julie, released the following statement Sunday.

"Early this Father's Day morning, our dad Casey Kasem passed away surrounded by family and friends. 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. "

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