GIG HARBOR – Casey Kasem passed away this morning, at the age of 82. The radio icon had been battling dementia for several years. As his health started to deteriorate, his wife and children began battling over his care. The fight moved to Washington State last month.
On May 12, a judge in California awarded Kerri Kasem temporary conservatorship over her father’s healthcare. But hours later, his daughters reported him missing.
“Let us see our dad. Let us see our dad on a regular basis,” said Julie Kasem. “Let my dad see his family.”
They feared Kasem’s wife Jean had taken the 82-year-old out of the country. Two days later, he was found at the home of a longtime friend in Silverdale. Kitsap County Sheriff’s deputies investigated.
“He seems to be doing fine, he was upright and he could communicate,” said Deputy Scott Wilson. “He had his medications and didn’t appear to be under stress of any sort.”
A week later, a judge in Los Angeles gave Kerri Kasem more power over her father’s medical care. But her stepmother failed to comply with the order, so the two sides went to court again. On May 30, a Kitsap County judge gave Kerri daily visitation rights, and permission to bring a private investigator along to monitor Kasem’s condition.
“These abuse rumors are false,” said Liberty Kasem, Jean’s daughter. “I am not abusing my dad, I love my dad.”
Kerri brought an ambulance to the home in Silverdale that weekend. Jean responded by throwing raw meat.
“I believe it was self-explanatory,” she said the next day. “When a person is about to pass away, there are always rabid dogs.”
Jean said the court dispute was all about Kasem’s fortune.
“The primary motive is about the money. And to revengefully shred my family of 34 years, which is how long I’ve been living with this post-divorce hostility.”
“The entire year we’ve been in court, I never asked for money or for the estate,” Kerri responded. “All I said is please let me see my dad. That’s it!”
Kasem’s health began to get worse earlier this month.
“Mr. Kasem is currently in critical condition,” a doctor at St. Anthony Hospital in Gig Harbor said on June 5. “He is currently being treated for a serious wound related to a pressure ulcer, commonly known as a bed sore.”
Last week, Kerri started ‘end of life’ care for her father. Jean tried to fight that, but a judge ruled doctors could stop giving Kasem food and water in an attempt to ease his pain.
This morning, he passed away. His children said he was surrounded by family and friends. They released a statement that read in part “even though we know he is in a better place and no longer suffering, we are heartbroken.”
They told CNN they will not fight their stepmother over their father’s remains. But there was no comment on whether they would ask police in Santa Monica, CA to continue their investigation into whether Jean Kasem was guilty of elder abuse.