Ryan Seacrest has looked up to Casey Kasem his entire life. And recently, the “American Idol” host and DJ took over Kasem’s place as the host of the “American Top 40” countdown.
In a statement on Sunday after the news of Kasem’s death, Seacrest called it a “sad day” and recalled how he looked up to Kasem.
“It’s a sad day for the broadcasting community and for radio listeners around the world,” said Seacrest.
“When I was a kid, I would listen to Casey Kasem’s AT40 show every weekend, and dream about someday becoming a radio DJ,” he continued. “So when decades later I took over his ‘AT40’ countdown show, it was a surreal moment. Casey had a distinctive friendly on-air voice, and he was just as affable and nice if you had the privilege to be in his company. He’ll be greatly missed by all of us.”
Also, Seacrest also gestured to Kasem’s famous tagline on “American Top 40” on Twitter:
Keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars. We’ll miss you, Casey. pic.twitter.com/cxYhONfrqz
— Ryan Seacrest (@RyanSeacrest) June 15, 2014
Kasem hosted “American Top 40,” which he co-created in 1970, at two different eras in the show’s history, from 1970 to 1988 and from 1998 to 2003. Seacrest took over hosting the show in 2004. It’s currently the No. 1 countdown show in the U.S. and is syndicated by Premiere Networks on nearly 500 stations worldwide.
See photos: Hollywood’s Notable Deaths of 2014
Kasem died after a long illness. He suffered from Lewy body disease, a progressive form of dementia, which left him unable to speak, eat or move on his own. He was transferred to hospice care in Washington state shortly before his death. Kerri Kasem, his daughter, announced his death on her Facebook page on Sunday.