WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Casey Kasem, the U.S. radio personality who counted down the pop music hits on his popular weekly radio show and also lent his distinctive voice to hippie sleuth Shaggy in the "Scooby Doo" cartoons, died on Sunday. He was 82.
"Early this Father's Day morning, our dad Casey Kasem passed away surrounded by family and friends," his daughter, Kerri Kasem, said in a statement posted online. "Even though we know he is in a better place and no longer suffering, we are heartbroken."
Kasem, whose final years were marked by dementia and a battle between his children and his second wife over his welfare, last week was placed in "comfort-oriented care" in a Washington hospital after a judge approved his daughter's request to do so.
He was receiving pain medication, but not food or water, after Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Daniel Murphy determined that feeding him would have been detrimental to his health.
"Keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars," Kasem, a Detroit-born Lebanese-American, told millions of listeners at the end of his invariably cheery weekly radio program, which ran from 1970 to 2009.
On his syndicated show, Kasem counted down the 40 most popular songs of the week in order, finishing with the No. 1 song. Before each song, Kasem told an upbeat anecdote about the singer's road to success and read letters from listeners.
At its peak, Kasem's show was heard on more than 1,000 stations in about 50 countries. "I accentuate the positive and eliminate the negative. That is the timeless thing," Kasem told the New York Times in 1990.
(Writing by Scott Malone; Editing by Robin Pomeroy)