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Radio Icon Casey Kasem Dead at 82 NY Times, LA Times

Casey Kasem, who was known to generations of Americans for hosting the syndicated radio show “American Top 40” and for voicing Shaggy in the TV cartoon show “Scooby-Doo,” died Sunday, reports The New York Times. He was 82.

Kasem’s death was announced by a representative for his daughter Kerri. He had suffered from Lewy body dementia, which leads to progressive neurological and muscle degeneration.

In the months before his death, his family was embroiled in a fight over his care, with his wife battling his three adult children from an earlier marriage. During the dispute, Jean Kasem, his wife, took Kasem from a nursing home and placed him with friends in another state. He was moved to a hospital by court order earlier this month.

Kasem’s “American Top 40” featured singles that Billboard magazine cited as the most popular in the previous week, which the publication based on radio airplay. The show, which debuted in 1970, was a “a weekly four-hour feast of homey sentiment and American optimism that ran headlong into the prevailing spirit of rebellion in the music culture of the day,” The Times notes.

A year after its debut, the show had reached 100 stations, and by the mid-1970s, that had expanded to 1,000 radio stations. He signed off each show by saying, “Keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars.”

Because of a contract dispute, his relationship with the radio show ended 1988, but he started “Casey’s Top 40” the following year. Later, he acquired the rights to “American Top 40” and hosted both that show and “Casey’s Top 40.” In 2004, he turned over his hosting duties to Ryan Seacrest, and Kasem retired in 2009.

Kasem also left his mark on television, providing the voice of Norville “Shaggy” Rogers from 1969 to 1997, notes the Los Angeles Times’ Show Tracker. He returned to the character from 2002 until 2009.

His other TV voiceover roles include working on the 1970s show “Jane of the Jungle” and the 1980s show “The Transformers.” Kasem also appeared as himself on shows including “Alf” and “The Ben Stiller Show.”

Casey-Kasem.jpgCasey Kasem