Editor’s note: This article has been updated to include a photo of DJ Casper during his appearance on Nexstar’s WJW in 2018.
CHICAGO (WJW) – DJ Casper, the creator of the global dance anthem “Cha Cha Slide,” has died at the age of 58, his wife confirmed.
Casper’s wife told ABC7 Chicago that the songwriter passed Monday after his battle with cancer.
In 2016, Casper, born Willie Perry Jr., had been diagnosed with two types of cancer: renal and neuroendocrine, affecting his kidney and liver. In an appearance on Nexstar’s WJW just a few years later, he indicated that his treatments had been effective.
“I had a little battle with, a little illness going on,” he told WJW at the time. “Today, I’m great. I’m definitely great. God made me great.”
More recently in May 2023, Casper discussed his continuing health struggles with ABC7, revealing the cancer had made it difficult to eat, leading to his substantial weight loss.
On Monday, Casper’s wife, Kim, announced his passing, saying her husband died with loved ones by his side.
Casper never anticipated the immense success of the “Cha Cha Slide,” which he wrote the lyrics for his nephew — a personal trainer at Bally’s — to be used along with an aerobic exercise routine, NPR reported. He later recorded the song himself with a sampled track before ultimately releasing a re-recorded version (featuring original music) in 2000.
Casper expressed his hope that the “Cha Cha Slide” would forever remind people of the power of unity, community and positivity.