TV’s legendary rock host dies of heart attack
Legendary US television presenter and producer Dick Clark, known for introducing rock and roll music to millions of Americans, died of a heart attack at age 82, his family said.
President Barack Obama led the tributes to the entertainer, hailing his groundbreaking achievements which “reshaped America’s television landscape forever”.
Mr Clark, famous for shows including American Bandstand and Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve suffered a cardiac arrest after being admitted to hospital in Santa Monica, California.
The entertainer, whose Dick Clark Productions remains a key force in the industry, was known to generations of US television viewers as “America’s oldest teenager”.
Mr Clark suffered a stroke in 2004 which forced him into retirement, although he continued to appear on the New Year’s Eve special alongside celebrity host Ryan Seacrest.
Mr Seacrest, the host of American Idol, was among the first to pay tribute to Mr Clark.
“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,” he said on his Twitter account.
In Washington, the White House issued a statement from Mr Obama, saying that with “American Bandstand he introduced decades’ worth of viewers to the music of our times.
“He reshaped the television landscape forever as a creative and innovative producer. And, of course, for 40 years, we welcomed him into our homes to ring in the New Year.
“But more important than his groundbreaking achievements was the way he made us feel − as young and vibrant and optimistic as he was.”
In Los Angeles, a wreath was placed on Mr Clark’s sidewalk star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Verdine White, bassist for the band Earth, Wind and Fire who played on American Bandstand, said: “He was a wonderful guy to work for... he gave you everything you needed so you could be the best you could be.
“Dick was like another member of the band.”
A New York native, Mr Clark began his career at 17 and worked his way up to television and radio anchor both there and in Philadelphia − where he became host of its Bandstand show in 1956.
Mr Clark is survived by his wife, Kari Wigton, and has three children from previous marriages.