‘Cha Cha Slide’ songwriter, DJ Casper, dies at 58

DJ Casper, the Chicago native whose real name was Willie Perry Jr., received kidney and liver cancer diagnoses in 2016. He died on Monday.

DJ Casper, the man behind the iconic “Cha Cha Slide,” has lost his battle with cancer.

He was 58.

On Monday, Casper’s wife, Kim, shared that he’d died with his loved ones by his side, ABC 7 Chicago reported.

DJ Casper Cha Cha Slide
DJ Casper, the man behind the iconic “Cha Cha Slide,” has lost his battle with cancer. He was 58. (Photo: Screenshot/YouTube.com/ABC 7 Chicago)

The Chicago native, who was born Willie Perry Jr., maintained his optimism while discussing his two years of international fame and health difficulties in a May interview with ABC 7.

The “Cha Cha Slide” is a routine Casper has performed worldwide, but he never could have predicted its popularity. As one of his most famous songs, he said he loves how it unites people. He noted that it’s been played in every stadium — baseball, football, basketball, hockey — and at the Olympics.

“It was something,” he admitted, “that everybody could do.”

At one point, Casper was even touring with James Brown, but everything changed in 2016 when he received his renal and neuroendocrine — or kidney and liver — cancer diagnoses. When doctors attempted to do surgery, they discovered that the kidney was connected to the major artery, so they opted against it and decided only to treat it, he said.

“Anybody that’s going through cancer, know that you have cancer and cancer does not have you,” said Casper, ABC 7 reported. “So, keep on doing the ‘Cha Cha Slide.'”

He faced waves of difficulties during his battle, including problems eating. “I used to weigh 236 pounds, and I think I’m about 60 pounds less,” he said. Despite his challenges, Casper expressed at the time that he hoped his “Cha Cha Slide” would always serve as a reminder of the strength of community, solidarity and positivism — and never to give up.

“Loved by millions, he was a wonderful family man, caring and giving to the community,” said producer and promoter Mr. Magique, Music Dish reported. “In his memory, everyone slide to the left.”

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