Broadcast legend and the voice of American Top 40, 20, and 10, Casey Kasem (82) passed away in the early morning hours of Sunday June 15th due to health complications in association with Parkinson’s disease. Working in the industry for thirty-nine years, Kasem became a household name through radio work, cartoon voiceovers, and commercial work with companies such as Oscar Myers, Ford, Sears, Dairy Queen, and many others. He was won countless awards throughout his career including spots in; The National Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame, The National Radio Hall of Fame, and a coveted star on The Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Kasem’s achievements were recently overshadowed by a family feud that went public in the wake of his worsening and ongoing health issues. He is survived through his first wife, their three children, and wife (Jean Kasem) and their daughter. Kasem’s children claimed that his second wife was not allowing them to see their father in his final days; they began a public protest after three months of being denied the right to see Kasem. In response, Jean claimed that Kasem did not want his family members to see him in his deteriorated state, which had also led him to lose his ability to speak. Eldest daughter Kerri was granted full control over her father’s medical decisions on June 6th, and after much consideration she decided to withhold food and fluids, which doctors claimed were resulting in additional pain for Kasem. Despite the public disagreements between family members, Kerri maintained that the importance of family meant having all members present, including Jean and her daughter.
Terminal illness in association with famous individuals and large estates can become mess, just as it does in ordinary circumstances. With this is mind, it is significant to note the importance of Advance Health Care Directives being set in place when facing a terminal illness. With such a document the health care decisions for Kasem would have been subject to little, if any interpretation, and thus resulted in a more amicable situation for all parties involved. Looking back on the life and career of Casey Kasem it is important to see primarily a family man, and a truly legendary broadcaster. A man who taught us all to “Keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars.”
Estate Planning and Probate Attorney, Manhattan Beach Local, Sports Enthusiast