PORT ORCHARD — As the battle surrounding Casey Kasem brought his relatives into the courtroom again Friday, the iconic radio host’s health is declining, and his family is preparing to say goodbye.
Kasem “won’t be with us much longer,” said Danny Deraney, the rep for the “American Top 40” host’s daughter, Kerri Kasem.
His family is gathering at St. Anthony Hospital in Washington, where the ailing 82-year-old was in critical condition as of Thursday, according to the hospital. Representatives of Kasem’s daughter Kerri released this statement Monday:
We (Kerri, Mike, Julie and Casey’s brother) have been at the hospital by his side, sleeping in his room for 9 days during this difficult time. We wish Jean would come back to Washington, and be by his side in his last moments.
His son, Mike Kasem, traveled from Singapore to be with his father, and Kasem’s brother flew in from Detroit. Kasem suffers from Lewy body dementia, which has no cure.
Kasem’s children from his first marriage hope the family will look past their dispute during his last moments. They want him to be surrounded by loved ones, including their stepmother and half-sister, Jean and Liberty Kasem.
“If he opens his eyes, I want my dad just once to see everyone standing around him, putting our differences aside and let him know how much he is loved by everyone, including Jean and Liberty,” Kerri Kasem said in a statement.
Deraney said the Kitsap County Superior Court recognized a previous California court order that gave Kerri Kasem full health conservatorship over her father.
During the hearing Friday, the court also found Casey Kasem’s wife, Jean Kasem, in contempt, but did not penalize her with a fine, Deraney said. He added that Jean Kasem was granted a private family moment for more than two hours with her husband of 34-years.
Attorneys for Jean Kasem said the judge’s findings and order will be prepared and circulated for signature next week.
Jean Kasem presented her side of the story in a declaration filed at the Kitsap County Superior Court on Wednesday, which was obtained by CNN. It includes documentation that the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office had no concern for her husband’s well-being in her care, and supporting declarations from the family friends the Kasems were visiting in Washington.
The declaration also claims that Kerri Kasem owes $1.3 million to Casey and Jean Kasem after accepting various financial gifts from her father since she turned 18. Jean Kasem further alleges that Kerri Kasem is a Scientologist, citing an unverified celebrity website, and includes an article about the FBI investigating the Church of Scientology for human trafficking.
Deraney denies that Kerri Kasem has ever been a Scientologist, adding, “She loves studying religions. Jean picked out the most controversial one to distract from what’s really going on.”
In light of the ongoing family feud, a court order signed by a Kitsap County judge on Thursday dictated that visits to Casey Kasem would be equally shared by both sides of the family, and that during his final hours everyone would be permitted to visit him at the same time.
Kasem’s daughter, Julie Kasem, also said she hoped for peace during her father’s final moments.
“My dad taught us that family comes first. We want to honor him and make sure all of his family, including Jean and Liberty, are surrounding him with love at this critical time,” she said in a statement.