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DJ Casper, Creator of the Iconic and Ubiquitous 'Cha Cha Slide,' Dies at 58

By: Mia Wang

DJ Casper, the musician behind the iconic ‘Cha Cha Slide,’ died after a seven-year fight with cancer. He passed away on Monday, August 7th, at age 58.

Casper was born in Chicago and started DJing at seventeen because he wanted people to have fun. He even toured with James Brown. When performing his ‘Cha Cha Slide,’ he would wear all-white, and people eventually started playing this megahit at almost every event, including wedding receptions, dance parties, etc.

At first, he didn’t intend for the ‘Cha Cha Slide’ to become a dance or song. He created it as a favor for his fitness trainer nephew. He said, “I had created it for an aerobic workout, and I ended up putting music behind it” (WTTW). The song directed the listeners to “slide to the left, slide to the right. Criss cross.” and “Cha cha real smooth.”

In 2016, Casper was diagnosed with neuroendocrine and renal cancer, which affected his liver and kidneys and caused him to lose sixty pounds. After his wife revealed his diagnosis, they set up a GoFundMe account to support him. “Casper was a fun-loving, giving person, He was a genuine, family-oriented man. He loved Chicago with all his heart. He will be greatly missed” (Los Angeles Times).

Casper overcame many health struggles like a brain aneurysm (a bulge in an artery of the brain and an eye surgery for detached retinas). In 2019, he announced a remission of his cancer. However, it returned. Recently, Casper told Chicago’s ABC7 new channel, “Anybody that’s going through cancer, know that you have cancer and cancer does not have you” (The Guardian). His optimistic attitude towards his most famous song never faded, even when he had cancer.

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