DJ Casper, the man behind the “Cha Cha Slide,” died at the age of 58

The well-known line dance has been a mainstay at family gatherings, nightclubs, and other events for more than 20 years until it rose to recognition internationally in the early 2000s.

DJ Casper (Willie Perry Jr.) performs during rehearsals for a performance on “The Jenny Jones Show” in Chicago in September 2000.Credit...Getty Images
DJ Casper (Willie Perry Jr.) performs during rehearsals for a performance on “The Jenny Jones Show” in Chicago in September 2000.Credit…Getty Images

The “Cha-Cha Slide,” a catchy song from the early 2000s that inspired a rival line-dance craze to the Electric Slide and got people on the dance floor at wedding receptions, bar mitzvahs, and backyard barbecues, was created by DJ Casper. DJ Casper has since passed away. He was 58.

His wife Kim Bradshaw confirmed his passing to ABC7 Chicago in a statement. Casper had cancer for a while, but no specific cause was given. He said in an interview with the news program in May that he had a diagnosis of renal and neuroendocrine carcinoma in 2016.

On Tuesday, it was impossible to reach Ms. Bradshaw. “Casper was a fun-loving, giving person,” she stated in her statement to the news channel. He was a sincere, devoted family man. He had a deep affinity for Chicago. His absence will be felt deeply.

Casper’s survivors were not immediately known, unfortunately.

On May 31, 1965, Willie Perry Jr. gave birth to Casper in Chicago. Early on, he gained notoriety by assuming the personas of musical greats like Teddy Pendergrass, James Brown, and others.

According to his website, he later adopted his distinctive stage moniker because he frequently wore white. Mr. C, the Slide Man, was another alias he occasionally used.

The “Casper Slide Pt. 1,” sometimes referred to as the “Cha-Cha Slide,” was developed by Casper in 1998 as an aerobic exercise for his nephew, a personal trainer. This was the beginning of Casper’s voyage to the center of the dance floor. A second song he wrote in 2000, “Casper Slide Pt. 2,” which became extremely famous and caused people to line dance at family gatherings, school dances, and nightclubs, followed the success of the first song in fitness courses.

The song spent five weeks and reached as high as No. 83 on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart.

According to Casper, “My song is basically like a line dance, or it can be a dance for people who don’t need a partner,” Billboard reported in 2001.

In 2012, he said that line dances like the “Cha-Cha Slide” were good for your health. Almost all of the line dances and slides are for exercise, according to Casper. For cardiac, you know, for your heart, they make you move. It maintains your motivation.

A record executive told Billboard that once the song was signed to Universal Records, clubs received instructional dance videos and the song was pushed at occasions like homecoming at Black colleges.

More than 130 million people have watched the “Cha-Cha Slide” on YouTube, making it an enduring part of popular culture. In 2019, it was even the focus of a “Saturday Night Live” skit. Recently, it has continued to attract younger, more recent fans, especially on social media. The song’s hashtag on TikTok has had more than a billion views, and at least one well-known dancer there, Vik White, has successfully combined the song’s dance and other dances.

“I have one of the biggest songs that played at all stadiums: hockey, basketball, football, baseball; they played it at the Olympics,” Casper said to ABC7 in May. It was a skill that anyone could learn.

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