by Tacuma Roeback
DJ Casper, the Chicago native behind the internationally renowned “Cha Cha Slide,” died Monday at 58, according to relatives.
He passed after a lengthy battle with cancer.
The Chicago legend is the creator of perhaps one of the most popular and ubiquitous dancefloor songs of the last 25 years. Initially, Casper had created the “Cha Cha Slide” in 1998 for his nephew, a personal trainer at a gym. The song became an aerobic and fitness anthem.
When WGCI’s Elroy Smith started playing his song on Chicago radio, it exploded in popularity around 2004.
Since then, in any event where people gathered to socialize or celebrate — a party, wedding reception, sporting event or cookout — the “Cha Cha Slide” would be played to commemorate that occasion.
After touring and performing the song worldwide, things slowed down in 2016 when he developed cancer. Casper told ABC7 Chicago’s Samantha Chatman he had kidney and liver cancer.
In that interview, he vowed to keep going despite his diagnosis. He even left a motivational message for anyone engaged in a similar battle.
“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.'”
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