Dick Clark died this afternoon (April 18) at the age of 82. His friend and protégé Ryan Seacrest issued a short but emotional statement about Clark’s passing. The entertainer died of a massive heart attack in Los Angeles.

Seacrest worked with Clark on the annual ‘New Year’s Rockin’ Eve’ show and it was as though Clark was grooming Seacrest to be his heir apparent. Seacrest praised Clark as a “true gentleman” who was “smart, charming, funny.” That was always the image that the TV and radio host projected, that’s for sure.

Below is the text of Seacrest’s statement, posted on Facebook. He’ll likely make mention of his mentor and influence on tonight’s live performance episode of ‘American Idol.’

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 6 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.