Casey Kasem, king of the Top 40 countdown, dead at 82

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Casey Kasem has died.

The radio broadcaster with the cheerful manner and gentle voice began hosting "American Top 40" on July 4, 1970, in Los Angeles. The show became a staple for many with Kasem's sentimental "long distance dedications" from listeners and his famous signoff: "keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars."

Kasem stepped down from "American Top 40" in 2004 and retired altogether in 2009.

Kasem's voice also was heard in TV cartoons such as "Scooby-Doo," in which he played Shaggy, and numerous commercials.

In recent years, Kasem was trapped in a feud between his three adult children and his second wife over his health care. Kasem suffered from Parkinson's disease and a form of dementia.

A publicist for Kasem's daughter says the radio broadcaster died early this morning, surrounded by family and friends. He was 82.

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129-w-30-(Matt Small, AP correspondent, with Casey Kasem on "American Top 40" and former disc jockey Charlie Van Dyke)--Casey Kasem, the smooth-voiced radio broadcaster who became the king of the top 40 countdown, has died at age 82. AP correspondent Matt Small looks back on his career. ((opens with actuality)) (15 Jun 2014)

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130-w-36-(Matt Small, AP correspondent, with former disc jockey Charlie Van Dyke and sound from Casey Kasem recording session for "American Top 40")--"Keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars." That's just one of the things Casey Kasem will be remembered for. AP correspondent Matt Small reports. (15 Jun 2014)

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131-w-35-(Matt Small, AP correspondent, with sound of Casey Kasem's TV work and former disc jockey Charlie Van Dyke)--Casey Kasem's success on the radio also extended to television. AP correspondent Matt Small reports. ((opens with sound)) (15 Jun 2014)

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132-r-03-(Sound of Casey Kasem, on "American Top 40")-"reaching for the stars"-Sound of Casey Kasem on "American Top 40" with his signature sign-off. (15 Jun 2014)

<<CUT *132 (06/15/14)££ 00:03 "reaching for the stars"

133-a-13-(Charlie Van Dyke, former disc jockey, in AP interview)-"of those requests"-Former disc jockey Charlie Van Dyke says the long distance dedications heard on Casey Kasem's music countdown shows connected with listeners, especially those in the military. (15 Jun 2014)

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134-a-12-(Charlie Van Dyke, former disc jockey, in AP interview)-"all he did"-Former disc jockey Charlie Van Dyke says Casey Kasem was both a gracious and hard-charging man. (15 Jun 2014)

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135-a-14-(Charlie Van Dyke, former disc jockey, in AP interview)-"created that persona"-Former disc jockey Charlie Van Dyke shares the story of how Casey Kasem developed his trademark style. (15 Jun 2014)

<<CUT *135 (06/15/14)££ 00:14 "created that persona"

136-a-08-(Charlie Van Dyke, former disc jockey, in AP interview)-"always shown me"-Former disc jockey Charlie Van Dyke remembers Casey Kasem as a generous professional broadcaster. (15 Jun 2014)

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APPHOTO CAET203: FILE - In this Oct. 27, 2003 file photo, Casey Kasem poses for photographers after receiving the Radio Icon award during The 2003 Radio Music Awards at the Aladdin Resort and Casino in Las Vegas. Kasem, the smooth-voiced radio broadcaster who became the king of the top 40 countdown, died Sunday, June 15, 2014, according to Danny Deraney, publicist for Kasem's daughter, Kerri. He was 82. (AP Photo/Eric Jamison, file) (27 Oct 2003)

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APPHOTO CAET201: FILE - In this Oct. 27, 2003 file photo, Casey Kasem poses for photographers after receiving the Radio Icon award during The 2003 Radio Music Awards at the Aladdin Resort and Casino in Las Vegas. Kasem, the smooth-voiced radio broadcaster who became the king of the top 40 countdown, died Sunday, June 15, 2014, according to Danny Deraney, publicist for Kasem's daughter, Kerri. He was 82. (AP Photo/Eric Jamison, file) (27 Oct 2003)

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