Ryan Seacrest says he was "always in awe" of his friend and "teacher" Dick Clark, who died on Wednesday at age 82.
Seacrest was made the co-host of Clark's annual ABC special "New Year's Rockin' Eve" after the TV personality suffered a stroke in December 2004. Clark was absent from that month's show but returned a year later and continued to co-host the special with Seacrest, who is now effectively his successor. The 2011 show marked the series' 40th anniversary.
"He was such a good friend," Seacrest said on Thursday, April 19, in an interview with E! News, a daily program that he also co-hosts. "He was a teacher to me and I felt like a student."
"I was always in awe of him, just wanted to please him every time I got a chance to work with him," he said. "I remember the first time walking in to see him and just wanting to be asked back for the second day of work after having a chance to do 'New Year's Eve' with him."
Clark, who was also known as the host of the iconic musical performance and dance series "American Bandstand," was admitted to a Los Angeles hospital on Tuesday evening after undergoing an outpatient procedure. He suffered a heart attack the next morning after the procedure and doctors were unable to save him.
He is survived by his wife Kari and his three children, RAC, Duane and Cindy.
Seacrest had Tweeted on the day of his death that Clark Seacrest Tweeted on April 18 "has truly been one of the greatest influences" in his life. (Check out what other celebrities said about Dick Clark following his death.)
He also paid tribute to Clark on the FOX series "American Idol," the main show he hosts, later on Wednesday.
"Without Dick, a show like this would not exist," Seacrest said. "He will be missed greatly. Our thoughts and our prayers go out to his family. I know that he's in a better place saying, 'Hey, let's get on with the show, okay?' You got it, boss."