DJ Casper, the creator of international sensation “Cha Cha Slide,” has died at the age of 58.
The Chicago native passed away due to cancer on Monday (Aug. 7), according to ABC7 Chicago.
“Casper was a fun-loving, giving person. He was a genuine, family-oriented man. He loved Chicago with all his heart. He will be greatly missed,” the DJ’s wife, Kim, said in a statement announcing his passing.
DJ Casper was diagnosed with cancer in 2016, which he discussed in an interview with ABC7 in May
“They diagnosed me in 2016 with two kinds of cancer, which is renal and neuroendocrine, which is kidney and liver. They went in to try to do surgery, and they found out the kidney was connected to the main artery, so they decided not to do it and just treat it,” Casper shared at the time.
“I used to weigh 236 pounds, and I think I’m about 60 pounds less. If you know me, you know I’m not going to stop. I’m going to continue to go. I’m going to continue to go until I can’t go,” he continued.
“Anybody that’s going through cancer, know that you have cancer and cancer does not have you. So, keep on doing the ‘Cha Cha Slide,'” Casper said.
DJ Casper was born Willie Perry Jr. in Chicago in 1965. He became known as Casper after frequently dressing in white on stage when performing as a DJ and hype man.
His world-famous hit “Cha Cha Slide” took off in 2000 after a Chicago radio DJ picked it up due to its popularity in fitness clubs and school PE classes.
“When I first did it [in 1998], I did it as an aerobic exercise for my nephew at Bally’s. From there, it just took off,” he told ABC7 of the song.
In 2004, a record label picked up the song and helped the DJ create a compilation album, further catapulting the iconic line dance track to internationally-successful status. The song spent five weeks on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in the early ’00s.
“I have one of the biggest songs that played at all stadiums: hockey, basketball, football, baseball; they played it at the Olympics. It was something that everybody could do,” Casper said.
The legacy of DJ Casper will continue to live on through the “Cha Cha Slide” at weddings, school dances, birthday parties, sports events and more.
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