Chicago native and 'Cha Cha Slide' creator DJ Casper dies at 58 after cancer battle, wife says

Public invited to visitation and memorial, family says

Samantha Chatman Image
Tuesday, August 8, 2023
Chicago native DJ Casper dies after cancer battle, wife says
Chicago native and "Cha Cha Slide" creator DJ Casper died after a cancer battle.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- DJ Casper, the creator of the world-famous "Cha Cha Slide," has died at 58 years old.

The Chicago native lost his battle with cancer on Monday.

This past May, Casper sat down with ABC7's Samantha Chatman at his home to talk about his two decades of international fame and his health struggles. It was his last television interview.

Casper was one of Chicago's greatest treasures. He came up with one of the most popular line dances to date. Yet, he never forgot where he came from.

When he sat down with ABC7 back in May, Casper said he was having challenges with his health, but he vowed to remain positive and cherish every moment. He left behind a song that brings people together from all walks of life.

Casper said he never thought the "Cha Cha Slide" would be an international sensation.

"When I first did it, I did it as an aerobic exercise for my nephew at Bally's," Casper said. "From there, it just took off. Elroy Smith from WGCI grabbed ahold of it."

Casper has performed the popular line dance all over the world.

"I have one of the biggest songs that played at all stadiums: hockey, basketball, football, baseball; they played it at the Olympics," Casper said. "It was something that everybody could do."

He was even touring with James Brown. But, everything came to a halt when the icon was diagnosed with cancer.

"They diagnosed me in 2016 with two kinds of cancer, which is renal and Neuroendocrine, which is kidney and liver," Casper said. "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."

His battle brought waves of challenges over the years. Most recently, Casper shared with ABC7 that he was having trouble eating, and was losing a lot of weight.

"I used to weigh 236 pounds, and I think I'm about 60 pounds less," Casper said. "If you know me, you know I'm not going to stop. I'm going to continue to go. I'm going to continue to go until I can't go."

Casper said he hopes his "Cha Cha Slide" will always serve as a reminder of the power of unity, community and positivity.

He left behind an important message for those who are struggling.

"Anybody that's going through cancer, know that you have cancer and cancer does not have you," Casper said. "So, keep on doing the 'Cha Cha Slide.'"

On Monday, Casper's wife, Kim, announced that he lost his battle to cancer with loved ones by his side.

"Casper was a fun-loving, giving person," she said in a statement. "He was a genuine, family oriented man. He loved Chicago with all his heart. He will be greatly missed."

Family invites public to visitation and celebration of life

Casper's family said the public is invited to attend a visitation and celebration of life next week to remember and honor the DJ.

A visitation will be held at Southwest Memorial Chapel at 7901 S. Komensky Avenue in Chicago from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Friday, August 18.

Another visitation will be held on Saturday, August 19, from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. followed by a service from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. at Holy Temple Cathedral at 14912 Lincoln Avenue in Harvey.