DJ Casper, born Willie Perry, Jr., has died after a battle with cancer, his wife announced on Monday.
The Chicago native was reportedly 58.
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 said 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.