Chicago legend DJ Casper, the creator behind the beloved “Cha Cha Slide,” died Monday. He was 58.
Casper’s wife, Kim, told ABC7, which first reported the news, that he had lost his battle to cancer with loved ones by his side.
He previously told the outlet in May that he had been diagnosed with kidney and liver cancer in 2016. “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, whose real name is Willie Perry Jr., said his original song, “The Cha-Cha Slide,” was created as aerobic exercise for his nephew who worked at Bally’s Total Fitness. “From there, it just took off. Elroy Smith from WGCI grabbed ahold of it,” he said.
In 2020, his second song titled “Casper Slide Pt. 2” was picked up by Chicago’s WGCI-FM radio station and eventually Universal Records, and released 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.
Over the years, the line dance song became an international sensation, becoming 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.’”