On Wednesday night, just hours after the world learned that TV icon Dick Clark had passed away, his heir apparent Ryan Seacrest took to the "American Idol" stage to pay homage to his mentor and friend.
"We can't begin tonight's show without acknowledging the passing of a television pioneer and my dear friend, Dick Clark," he said at the top of the broadcast. "Without Dick, a show like this would not exist. He will be missed greatly."
Seacrest credited Clark's groundbreaking work launching shows like "American Bandstand" as a predecessor for "Idol." "Our thoughts and our prayers go out to his family," he added. "I know that he's in a better place, saying, 'Hey, let's get on with the show, OK?' You got it, boss."
After the show, Seacrest noted that it wasn't easy holding it together while hosting the show. Clark took the "Idol" host under his wing, and Seacrest had helped the legend host "Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve" since 2006.
"This is a tremendously emotional day for so many people — fans of music, fans of television, broadcasters and certainly me personally, as Dick Clark was one of those incredible pioneers of our business," Seacrest told reporters after the show. "He taught me how to do television.
"I studied him as a kid, and I had the fortunate opportunity to work with him for several years on New Year's Eve. And so I am sad and I am grateful for what he has given us, and certainly what he has given me. It was a tough night to do the show. I miss him, and there was nobody like him."
Another close friend of Clark's, Jenny McCarthy, opened up about losing the TV legend. She had also worked with him on his annual New Year's Eve bash and on the American Music Awards, which he helped create. "I feel honored to have worked with the legendary Dick Clark on the American Music Awards and New Year's Rockin' Eve. He was a great man who always encouraged everyone to give their best," McCarthy said in a statement to MTV News. "He will be dearly missed and his spirit will be forever in my heart, especially counting down the minutes to midnight every New Year's Eve to come."
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