Photo: Dionn Renee

Chicago Legend DJ Casper: Dead At 58

The creator behind the beloved “Cha Cha Slide,” Chicago icon, DJ Casper, died Monday (8.07.) He was 58 years old.

In May, the music legend told ABC7 that he had been diagnosed with kidney and liver cancer in 2016, stating “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’s wife, Kim, told the news outlet that he had lost his battle to cancer with loved ones by his side.

Born Willie Perry Jr., Casper said his original song, “The Cha-Cha Slide,” was created as aerobic exercise for his nephew who worked at Bally’s Total Fitness, adding “From there, it just took off. Elroy Smith from WGCI grabbed ahold of it.”

In 2020, his second song titled “Casper Slide Pt. 2” was picked up by Chicago’s WGCI-FM radio station and eventually signed to Universal Records in 2000 — spending five weeks on the Billboard Hot 100 chart before going topping the UK charts in 2004. Casper, who was also known as Mr C the Slide Man, released an accompanying record, Cha-Cha Slide: The Original Slide Album.

Throughout the years, the line dance song became an international sensation as well a a staple at school dances, sports events, Quinceanera’s, bar mitzvahs, weddings, and other celebrations across the world.

“Anybody that’s going through cancer, know that you have cancer and cancer does not have you,” Casper said in a statement before his death. “So, keep on doing the ‘Cha Cha Slide.’”

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Author: Saul Goode

Photo: Dionn Renee