Ryan Seacrest was getting ready for last night's live taping of American Idol when he heard the news that his longtime friend and mentor Dick Clark had died.

"He was such a good friend," Seacrest tells E! News' Giuliana Rancic today. "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."

Seacrest recalled being "so scared" when Clark invited him to cohost New Year's Rockin' Eve with him in 2005, a year after Clark suffered a stroke and missed his only countdown in 32 years.

"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," said Seacrest, who became Clark's annual cohost and, now, his successor.

"It's sad news for a lot of people across the country," he concluded. "Dick Clark's legacy will live on forever; he had a  tremendous impact on the entertainment industry—certainly on who I am today."

Earlier today, on his KIIS-FM morning show, Seacrest described Clark as "so engaging and charming and wonderful...the type of guy that if you knew him, you'd give him a hug every time you'd see him."

What Clark did for television, he added, "could never be done by anybody ever again," and it was "groundbreaking what he was doing for music."

Clark did no less than help bring rock 'n' roll into the mainstream with American Bandstand, which premiered in 1957 and remained on the air through the 1980s.

"It was a tough night at the beginning of the show," Seacrest said of last night's American Idol. "It's a terrible thing to lose somebody."

Without hesitation, Seacrest kicked off Idol with some touching words about the dearly departed American Bandstand and New Year's Rockin' Eve host, who pretty much paved the way for song-and-dance shows that remain so popular today.

Watch Ryan and Giuliana's conversation about Clark on E! News today, 7 and 11:30 p.m.

GALLERY: Dick Clark: A Legendary Life

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