DJ Casper, songwriter and hype man behind ‘Cha Cha Slide’, passes away at 58

DJ Casper, the songwriter behind the dance floor classic ‘Cha Cha Slide’, has died aged 58.

dj casper cha cha slide

Chicago’s finest DJ, hype man, and songwriter took his last bow on Monday, 7 August. DJ Casper’s wife, Kim, confirmed the sad news to ABC7, revealing the icon had departed with his nearest and dearest at his side.

For those not in the know, Casper’s birth name was Willie Perry Jr., and he had battled kidney and liver cancer since 2016. Shedding light on his health journey earlier this May, Casper told ABC7: “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.”

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While grappling with his health challenges, DJ Casper wished his creation would stand the test of time. He envisaged the ‘Cha Cha Slide’ as a beacon of “the power of unity, community and positivity”.

Dropping in 2000, the track wasn’t just about cutting some shapes on the dance floor. Originally, it was a tune to get heart rates up, crafted as an aerobic number for his nephew at Bally’s Total Fitness. “From there, it just took off. Elroy Smith from [Chicago hip-hop radio station] WGCI grabbed ahold of it,” Casper reminisced with ABC 7.

The catchy number didn’t just enthral US audiences. It danced its way to UK chart dominance in 2004. And while it got cosy at Number 83 on the Billboard Hot 100, it became an anthem at clubs, parties, weddings, and even the grandstands of sporting events.

Under the moniker, Mr. C The Slide Man, Casper proudly stated, “I have one of the biggest songs that’s played at all stadiums: hockey, basketball, football, baseball; they played it at the Olympics. It was just something that everybody could do.”

Having once shared the stage with legends like James Brown, DJ Casper’s parting words in his interview were both poignant and uplifting: “Anybody that’s going through cancer, know that you have cancer and cancer does not have you. So, keep on doing the ‘Cha Cha Slide’.”

mr c the slide dj casper cha cha slide

The ‘Cha Cha Slide’ is continuing its digital dance with over 133 million views on YouTube. And with every play, Casper’s legacy lives on.

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