Photo courtesy DionnRenee.com
Willie “DJ Casper” Perry, Jr., passed away on Sunday (August 6) according to a close family friend.
The songwriter revealed he had been diagnosed with kidney and liver cancer in 2016 and his wife Kim confirmed to ABC 7 on Tuesday that he had passed away after battling the disease.
"They diagnosed me in 2016 with two kinds of cancer, which is renal and Neuroendocrine, which is kidney and liver," Casper said to ABC 7 in May. "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."
The Chicago native was best known for writing the popular 2000 song "Cha Cha Slide" and creating its accompanying dance.
Despite being released two decades ago, the song has remained a favorite at birthday parties, weddings and family cookouts.
DJ Casper eventually created a second version after the song grew in popularity. The track, known as "Casper Slide: Part 2", became an international success. He noted that he created the original as an aerobic exercise for his nephew.
'Something everybody could do'
The song came with its own signature line dance inspired by the Chicago stepping movement.
The lyrics encouraged dancers to "slide to the left/right", "clap your hands" and drop down "all the way to the floor."
In the ABC7 interview, Casper said he hoped the dance track would continue to serve as a reminder of the power of unity, community and positivity.
"I have one of the biggest songs that's played at all stadiums: hockey, basketball, football, baseball; they played it at the Olympics," said the hype man, who once toured with funk and soul star James Brown. "It was just something that everybody could do."