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DJ Casper, artist behind ‘Cha Cha Slide,’ has died

By Lisa Respers France, CNN

(CNN) — DJ Casper, born Willie Perry, Jr., has died after a battle with cancer, his wife told CNN affiliate ABC7 Chicago on Monday.

The Chicago native was reportedly 58. CNN has reached out to his family for comment.

Casper was responsible for the popular song “Cha Cha Slide,” which came out 23 years ago this month. Coming off of his “Cha-Cha Slide: The Original Slide Album,” the track gave way to a popular line dance that is still performed at events all over the world.

Casper’s “Cha Cha Slide” has quickly become a staple at events from proms and weddings to corporate functions and more – wherever dance is a part of a celebration – thanks to its easy dancability and the way it fits into the Black tradition of line dances including the Electric Slide and the Cupid Shuffle.

Such traditions are not unfamiliar to the world at large due in part to the show “Soul Train,” which celebrated Black music artists and the art of line dancing well before some of today’s most popular dances were invented.

Casper told ABC7 during an interview in May that he was surprised by his song’s 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 ahold of it.”

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