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08th Aug 2023

‘Cha Cha Slide’ creator DJ Casper has died aged 58

Steve Hopkins

He hoped his hit song would serve as a reminder of the power of unity, community and positivity

The DJ behind the world-famous Cha Cha Slide has died aged 58.

Willie Perry Jr, better known as DJ Casper, revealed in 2016 that he had been diagnosed with kidney and liver cancer, and detailed the impact it was having on his health in May last year.

On Monday, Perry’s wife, Kim, confirmed his death to ABC7.

Perry previously shared with the publication that he was having trouble eating and was losing a lot of weight, saying: “I used to weigh 236 pounds, and I think I’m about 60 pounds less. If you know me, you know I’m not going to stop. I’m going to continue to go. I’m going to continue to go until I can’t go.”

His cause of death has not been revealed.

In May 2022, Perry sat down with ABC7 in what was his last television interview and spoke about how he came up with one of the most popular line dances to date.

He said he never thought Cha Cha Slide would be an international sensation but hoped it would serve as a reminder of the power of unity, community and positivity.

“When I first did it, I did it as an aerobic exercise for my nephew at Bally’s,” Perry told ABC7.

“From there, it just took off. Elroy Smith from WGCI grabbed ahold of it.”

Perry has performed the popular line dance all over the world.

“I have one of the biggest songs that played at all stadiums: hockey, basketball, football, baseball; they played it at the Olympics,” Casper said. “It was something that everybody could do.”

The performer came up with the 1990s version of Cha Cha Slide after his nephew, a PE teacher in Chicago, asked him to write a track for a step aerobics class.

The craze started soon after, when the hypeman was inundated with requests to play the song at parties and events. It was later played by Chicago’s WGCI-FM in 2000, and eventually released by Universal Records.

The original backing is from 1992 house hit Plastic Dreams, performed by Dutch producer Jaydee. It reached number 11 on the UK dance charts at the time.

First released in 2000, it took four years for the Cha Cha Slide to reach the UK – when it did, it was eventually certified Platinum for selling over 600,000 copies.

Speaking about his hit song in 2023, Perry said: “It just spread, it went crazy. When I got off a plane at Heathrow, there were about ten thousand people just waiting.”

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