Creator of the ‘Cha-Cha Slide’ DJ Casper, real name Willie Perry Jr., has passed away at the age of 58.
The Chicago-hailing DJ, songwriter, and hype man was said to have passed away yesterday (August 7) following a seven-year battle with cancer.
DJ Casper’s wife, Kim, told ABC7 that he passed away peacefully by the side of his loved ones. He was diagnosed with kidney and liver cancer in 2016.
Upon release in August 2000, the ‘Cha-Cha Slide’ didn’t fare as well in the US as it did overseas, hitting Number 83 on the Billboard Hot 100. In 2004, when it was officially released as a single in the UK, the song hit Number One in the Official Singles Chart within two weeks.
The track was much backed by BBC Radio 1’s Scott Mills, who played the ‘Cha-Cha Slide’ on rotation for weeks. It remained at Number One in the charts for a week and spent the next eight weeks in the Top 10.
The track ushered in a new dance which still remains one of the most popular line dances to date. During his career, DJ Casper performed the dance on stages all around the world.
Speaking to ABC7 in May, DJ Casper said that he never expected the track so achieve such international success. “When I first did it, I did it as an aerobic exercise for my nephew at Bally’s,” he said.
“From there, it just took off. Elroy Smith from WGCI grabbed a hold of it. I have one of the biggest songs that played at all stadiums: hockey, basketball, football, baseball; they played it at the Olympics. It was something that everybody could do.”
He said that he hopes the song will remain a reminder of “unity, community and positivity”, adding: “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.'”
Gemma Ross is Mixmag’s Assistant Editor, follow her on Twitter
Written by: Tim Hopkins