Ryan Seacrest: Dick Clark Was My Idol

04/18/2012 at 04:50 PM EDT

Dick Clark Dead: Ryan Seacrest Tribute
Ryan Seacrest (left) and Dick Clark
Theo Wargo/DCNYRE2010/Getty
Two years after a stroke left Dick Clark partially paralyzed with slurred speech, Ryan Seacrest of American Idol stepped in as host of the iconic Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve on ABC.

On Wednesday, after Clark died of a massive heart attack at age 82, Seacrest remembered his friend and mentor.

"I am deeply saddened by the loss of my dear friend Dick Clark. He has truly been one of the greatest influences in my life. I idolized him from the start, and I was graced early on in my career with his generous advice and counsel.

"When I joined his show in 2006, it was a dream come true to work with him every New Year's Eve for the last six years.





"He was smart, charming, funny and always a true gentleman. I learned a great deal from him, and I'll always be indebted to him for his faith and support of me.

"He was a remarkable host and businessman and left a rich legacy to television audiences around the world. We will all miss him."



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