Casey Kasem poses for photographers after receiving the Radio Icon award during The 2003 Radio Music Awards in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Eric Jamison)
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Casey Kasem, the internationally famous radio host with the cheerful manner and gentle voice who became the king of the top 40 countdown with a syndicated show that ran for decades, died Sunday.A statement issued by the Kasem family said Kasem died at 3:23 a.m. Sunday, on Father's Day, surrounded by family and friends at a Washington state hospital.Kasem's "American Top 40" began on July 4, 1970, in Los Angeles.Media personality Ryan Seacrest, who took over the countdown from Kasem in 2004, said in a statement that Kasem's death is a loss for radio listeners worldwide.In recent years, Kasem was trapped in a feud between his three adult children and his second wife, former actress Jean Kasem.Kasem also suffered from Lewy Body Disease, a form of dementia.Kasem's legacy reached well beyond music.The son of Lebanese immigrants, Kasem was active in speaking out for greater understanding of Arab-Americans -- both on political issues involving the Mideast and on arts and media issues.Kasem was born Kemal Amin Kasem in 1932 in Detroit.
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