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Judge orders ailing deejay Casey Kasem to be hydrated, fed

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A Los Angeles judge on Monday ordered longtime radio deejay Casey Kasem, who is in critical condition in a Washington state hospital, to be hydrated, fed and medicated while Kasem's court-appointed attorney assesses his health.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Daniel S. Murphy issued the order after Kasem's wife, Jean Kasem, said in a sworn declaration that her husband was not receiving food, water or his usual medication over the weekend.

His care and visitation rights have been the focus of a legal tussle between his wife and children from an earlier marriage.

Kerri Kasem, Kasem's daughter from an earlier marriage who is in charge of his care, had removed him from artificial food and water on doctors' recommendations, her attorney Martha Patterson said.

"The hospital had recommended comfort measures only," Patterson said, which includes some medications to lessen pain. Patterson added that food was causing distress for Kasem and running a risk of pneumonia.

Kasem, 82, the host of radio's "American Top 40" countdown for four decades, was admitted to St. Anthony Hospital in Gig Harbor, Washington, last week suffering from an infected bedsore, an ulcer on the skin often difficult to treat.

The former deejay, who also voiced Shaggy in the "Scooby-Doo" cartoons, suffers from Lewy body disease, a form of dementia with symptoms similar to Parkinson's disease.

A spokesman for Kerri Kasem said last week that her father was near death.

Kasem's court-appointed attorney, Samuel Ingham, will evaluate Kasem's well-being and treatment, and is scheduled to issue his findings in Los Angeles court on Friday.

(Reporting by Eric Kelsey; Editing by Piya Sinha-Roy and Diane Craft)

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