DJ Casper – the musician behind dance hit the Cha Cha Slide – has died at the age of 58.
His wife told ABC7 Chicago the musician, who was diagnosed with kidney and liver cancer in 2016, had passed away.
She said: “Casper was a fun-loving, giving person.
“He was a genuine, family-oriented man.
“He loved Chicago with all his heart. He will be greatly missed.”
The star – who was born Willie Perry Junior – was best known for writing the popular noughties song the Cha Cha Slide and creating its accompanying dance.
DJ Casper originally set the groundwork for his worldwide hit song in 1998 in the form of the Casper Slide Part 1 – a step-aerobics track written for his nephew, who worked as a fitness instructor.
It quickly gained popularity in aerobic classes and fitness clubs around his hometown of Chicago, leading DJ Casper to write a second version, the Casper Slide Part 2.
The song was released by Universal Records in September 2000, but was a slower burner in the US, finally charting in 2001 and reaching 83 in the Billboard Hot 100.
It took until 2004 to achieve UK success.
But when it did arrive, it was a huge hit, reaching number one in the UK charts and also topping the dance charts in Ireland.
With a catchy tune and simple lyrics, the Cha Cha Slide also featured an accompanying music video with an easy-to-follow line dance – making it a continuing hit both on the radio and in clubs and discos.
The Cha Cha Slide was DJ Casper’s only major hit – but one that made him a cult figure among children of the noughties.
He remained active in the music scene with his Casper Classics Radio station, and was due to play the Popworld Festival in Leeds last weekend.
However, he was unable to attend the event and instead festival-goers danced along to the Cha Cha Slide while sending him messages of support.
A spokesperson for Popworld told Sky News: “We are very saddened to hear of the passing of DJ Casper and we send our condolences to his family and friends.
“Unfortunately DJ Casper was unable to perform at the Popworld festival in Leeds, however a tribute by the crowd was made in his honour as they danced to Cha Cha slide sending him positive messages of love and support.”