Jun 15, 2014 11:57 AM
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - Casey Kasem, the internationally famous radio broadcaster and disc jockey, who became the king of the Top 40 countdown, died Sunday.
Kasem was 82.
A publicist for the family confirmed Kasem passed away early Sunday morning, surrounded by family and friends.
Kasem's "American Top 40" radio show started in 1970 and ran for decades, until his farewell show in 2009.
He was known for his inspiring shows, airing letters from fans hoping for a "long distance dedication" and his signature farewell after every show in which he would say "don't forget: keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars."
Kasem's voice was heard and recognized worldwide, in both radio and television. He was the voice behind the timid "Shaggy" in the popular Scooby-Doo cartoon series in the 70's and 80's. He also appeared in countless commercials.
Kasem's failing health over the last few years has been a contentious issue, leading to legal battles between his children and his second wife, Jean.
He suffered from advanced Parkinson's disease and dementia.
Kasem was born Kemal Amin Kasem in 1932 in Detroit.
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.
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