By Kevin Rutherford
Casey Kasem, legendary host of the American Top 40 radio program that counted down the hits for American audiences every week, has died. He was 82.
A judge ruled earlier this month that Kasem’s daughter Kerri had the right to withhold food, fluids and medication from her father, a process that began earlier this week, Billboard reported. Kerri Kasem and Jean Kasem, the broadcaster’s wife of 34 years, had been locked in a battle for control over the decision to keep him alive.
Forbes reported that, after the ruling in Kerri Kasem’s favor on Wednesday (June 11), Jean Kasem stormed out of the courtroom, announcing, “You have blood on your hands!”
Kasem had suffered from Lewy body dementia since last year, a condition similar to Parkinson’s that had rendered him with trouble speaking. He had also been bedridden for some time, and had been hospitalized with bedsores and sepsis.
Last month, the whereabouts of Kasem were unknown; it was later revealed that Jean Kasem had taken him to Washington state without notifying the rest of the family. When Kerri Kasem arrived to see her father earlier this month after a court ruling allowed her to do so, she instructed he be taken to a local hospital, something his wife did not take kindly to, throwing raw meat at her, according to several witnesses.
Kasem hosted American Top 40 for multiple decades, starting from 1970-1988 and again from 1998 until his retirement in 2009. The countdown show listed the top 40 songs on American radio, tying in biographies, stories and other segments. The show originally used Billboard chart data but now pulls its rankings from Mediabase. Ryan Seacrest now hosts the program in its current iteration.
Kasem was also a voice actor, most famously playing the role of Shaggy in the Scooby-Doo animated series.