Casey Kasem has died.
The radio broadcaster with the cheerful manner and gentle voice began hosting "American Top 40" on July 4, 1970, in Los Angeles. The show became a staple for many with Kasem's sentimental "long distance dedications" from listeners and his famous signoff: "keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars."
Kasem stepped down from "American Top 40" in 2004 and retired altogether in 2009.
Kasem's voice also was heard in TV cartoons such as "Scooby-Doo," in which he played Shaggy, and numerous commercials.
In recent years, Kasem was trapped in a feud between his three adult children and his second wife over his health care. Kasem suffered from Parkinson's disease and a form of dementia.
A publicist for Kasem's daughter says the radio broadcaster died early this morning, surrounded by family and friends. He was 82.
(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)