The death of legendary TV icon Dick Clark has obviously been particularly difficult for his protege Ryan Seacrest, who considered Clark to be an idol and mentor, and also famously took over Clark’s hosting duties on ABC’s “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve” six years ago after the TV legend suffered a major stroke that caused him to be in poor health.

In a statement released shortly after it was announced Wednesday (Apr 18) that Clark had passed away from a massive heart attack at the age of 82, Seacrest talked about the late producer’s impact on both him and the industry.

“I am deeply saddened by the loss of my dear friend Dick Clark,” Seacrest said in a statement. “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.”

He added: “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.”

It’s no secret that Ryan Seacrest has modeled his own career after Dick Clark’s, and his style and resume is often compared to the “American Bandstand” host.

At the beginning of Wednesday night’s episode of “American Idol,” Seacrest paid tribute to his friend and mentor.

“Without Dick, a show like this would not exist,” said Seacrest. “He will be missed greatly; our thoughts and our prayers go out to his family. I know he’s in a better place saying, ‘Hey, let’s get on with the show, OK?’ You got it, boss.”

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