Casey Kasem, a radio voice who connected generations of Americans to thousands of rock and pop acts, died Sunday morning, according to multiple media outlets. Kerri Kasem, Casey’s daughter, announced the news on her Facebook page:
“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,” she wrote in a Facebook post. “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.”
Kasem, hospitalized in Washington state since 6/1, had been in declining health.
The longtime host of radio’s American Top 40, which he started in 1970, was a familiar voice to millions, known for his signature closing advice: “Keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars.” Over the years, he hosted other versions of the music countdown show on radio and television. Kasem founded the American Top 40 franchise with Don Bustany, Tom Rounds and Ron Jacobs, and hosted it from 1970 to 1988 and from 1998 to 2004. Between January 1989 and early 1998, he was the host of Casey’s Top 40, Casey’s Hot 20, and Casey’s Countdown. Also beginning in 1998, Kasem hosted two AC spin-offs of American Top 40, American Top 20, and American Top 10. Kasem retired from AT20 and AT10 on July 4, 2009 and both shows ended on that day. Ryan Seacrest took over the AT40 franchise in 2004.
Kasem, known for his distinctive, rich, dramatic voice, was the youngest member ever to be inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame and has his own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He first served as a DJ and radio announcer while serving in the Army during the Korean War and he began his professional radio career in the 1950s.