Black linedance pioneer and icon DJ Casper, born Willie Perry, Jr., has died of cancer. He was 58.
The “Cha Cha Slide” creator passed away August 7, according to ABC-7 Chicago. His wife, Kim, confirmed Casper’s death on Monday. She also revealed that the beloved party rocker died with relatives by his side.
“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 58-year-old Chicago native was diagnosed with cancer of the liver and kidneys in 2016. He spoke with ABC-7 Chicago in May about navigating the illness and the impact cancer had on his life.
“They diagnosed me in 2016 with two kinds of cancer, which is renal and Neuroendocrine, which is kidney and liver,” Casper said. “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.”
In his final interview before his passing, Casper explained the toll the cancer had on his health, but he maintained that he still had a fight left in him.
“I used to weigh 236 pounds, and I think I’m about 60 pounds less,” Casper said. “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.”
The 58-year-old “Oops Upside The Head” artist also revealed how the “Cha Cha Slide” came to pass.
In 2000, he initially made his cousin an aerobics mix to use while he taught fitness classes at a Chicago Bally’s. The song became an international hit after a WGCI radio personality caught wind of the infectious party record. The record’s success even had him touring with the late great James Brown. The “Cha Cha Slide” became a party anthem.
“When I first did it, I did it as an aerobic exercise for my nephew at Bally’s. From there, it just took off. Elroy Smith from WGCI grabbed ahold of it. I have one of the biggest songs that played at all stadiums: hockey, basketball, football, baseball; they played it at the Olympics,” Casper said. “It was something that everybody could do.”
Black Twitter responded to the news of the adored linedance king’s passing.
Slide in heaven, DJ Casper… you impacted the world!
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