‘America’s oldest teen’ Dick Clark dies

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Los Angeles (CNN) — Broadcast icon Dick Clark, the creator and longtime host of “American Bandstand,” has died, publicist Paul Shefrin said. He was 82.

Clark suffered a heart attack while at St. John’s Hospital in Santa Monica for an outpatient procedure, his publicist said. “Attempts to resuscitate were unsuccessful.”

Clark suffered what was then described as “a mild stroke” in December 2004, just months after announcing he had been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes.

That stroke forced Clark to cut back on his on-camera work, including giving up the hosting duties for the “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve” specials. He returned as a co-host with Ryan Seacrest on December 31, 2005.

Clark anguished each year over whether to continue appearing on the annual show because of limitations on his speech from the stroke, U.S. Rep. David Drier, a longtime friend, told CNN Wednesday.

“But then he would get deluged by people who were stroke victims and other people who had infirmities and they were such admirers of his fighting spirit,” said Drier, R-California.

Clark appeared on the last show for New Year’s Eve 2011.

“He loved it, but at the same time he knew that his continued diligence was providing inspiration to a lot of people who were going through difficulties, facing infirmities themselves,” Drier said.

Seacrest gave a statement to CNN Wednesday expressing deep sadness for “the loss of my dear friend Dick Clark.”

“He has truly been one of the greatest influences in my life,” Seacrest said. “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.”

Seacrest called Clark “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 said. “He was a remarkable host and businessman and left a rich legacy to television audiences around the world. We will all miss him.”

Share your memories of Dick Clark

His “American Bandstand” work, which he began as a local TV show in Philadelphia in 1956, earned him the nickname “America’s oldest living teenager.” The show was picked up by ABC and broadcast nationally a year later.

Born Richard Wagstaff Clark in Mount Vernon, New York, on November 30, 1929, he began his broadcast career working at a radio station managed by his father.

Clark, who was married three times, is survived by his current wife, two sons and a daughter.

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inducted Clark in its nonperformer category in 1993.

Clark also hosted numerous other television favorites including “$25,000 Pyramid” and “TV’s Bloopers and Practical Jokes.”

“This guy was the best,” said singer Freddy Cannon, who appeared on “American Bandstand” 110 times. “He helped me from the very bottom of my career all through the ’80s and the ’90s, and he’s going to be missed a lot.”

Clark’s passing follows by less than three months the death of another TV dance show icon, Don Cornelius, the creator of “Soul Train.” Cornelius was found dead of what authorities said was a self-inflicted gunshot wound in Los Angeles on February 1. He was 75.

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