DJ Casper, the musician who had an enduring worldwide hit with ‘Cha Cha Slide’, has died at 58.
He had been diagnosed with kidney and liver cancer in 2016 and died from the illness.
Born Willie Perry Jr. in Chicago where he continued to live, Casper created ‘Cha Cha Slide’ in 1998 as a musical exercise routine for his personal trainer nephew, and its popularity began to snowball in the Chicago area.
The song was signed locally, then by a major label, taking it to an international stage. With its line-dancing routine and upbeat commands from Casper (who released it as Mr. C the Slide Man), it became a favorite at weddings, children’s parties, sports events and more.
A slow-burn success, it caught on around the US in 2001 and became a minor chart hit (reaching No 83) before arriving in the UK in 2004 and going to No 1. Casper also released an accompanying album, Cha-Cha Slide: The Original Slide Album.
Casper had already overcome earlier health struggles, including a brain aneurysm at 22 and eye surgery for detached retinas.
He announced in 2019 that his cancer was in remission, but it later returned.
He recently told Chicago’s ABC7 news channel: “Anybody that’s going through cancer, know that you have cancer and cancer does not have you.”