(RNN) – The man who introduced American audiences to music legends Buddy Holly, Michael Jackson, Madonna and more died Wednesday of a massive heart attack. Dick Clark was 82.
He had been in St. John's hospital in Los Angeles after undergoing an outpatient procedure Tuesday, and suffered the heart attack.
Clark is best known as the face of the New Year's Eve celebration, Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve, in Times Square and the host of American Bandstand.
News of Clark's passing spread throughout social media, with celebrities from all walks of entertainment weighing in on his death. Although he had been in ill health over the years, the news still struck a nerve with those in the entertainment business.
"Very sad to hear about Dick Clark," Joan Rivers tweeted. "What a great life. What a great career. Relevant until the end. He will be missed!"
He was one of the most recognizable entertainers in the world, nicknamed "America's Oldest Living Teenager" because of his seemingly unfading youthful appearance.
Born Richard Wagstaff Clark in Mount Vernon, NY, on Nov. 30, 1929, Clark was the son of Julia Fuller and Richard August Clark. He began his career in entertainment as a disk jockey at a student-run radio station while studying business at Syracuse University.
Clark had worked his way out of the mailroom at WRUN, a radio station in upstate New York run by his uncle and father. He began filling in as the weatherman and announcer while still in high school.
Clark began hosting one of ABC's longest running TV series, American Bandstand, in 1957. The show featured countless music legends, including Madonna and Michael Jackson, and ran until 1989.
The show was a platform that introduced rock 'n' roll into the mainstream and introduced conversations about race at a time when the issue threatened to divide the country.
"Dick Clark was eternally young," tweeted business magnate Russell Simmons. "No matter what cultural ... phenomenon was happening, he always embraced it. RIP."
Clark began hosting New Year's Rockin' Eve in 1972 and appeared on the show until 2004, when he suffered a stroke that left him partially paralyzed. The stroke affected Clark's ability to speak and walk.
He later admitted to CNN's Larry King that he also suffered from type 2 diabetes.
After Clark's stroke, Regis Philbin stepped in as host in 2004. The following year, Clark returned to the show, with radio and TV personality Ryan Seacrest serving as the primary host.
"I am deeply saddened by the loss of my dear friend Dick Clark," Seacrest said on his Twitter account. "He has truly been one of the greatest influences in my life. My thoughts and prayers are with his family."
Clark was a 1993 inductee into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
He also made a measurable impact while has was off camera, helping to propel the careers of countless other entertainers.
As a television producer and founder of Dick Clark Productions, Clark launched the American Music Awards, TV's Bloopers and Practical Jokes and The $25,000 Pyramid, among several other TV enterprises.
Clark is survived by his third wife, Kari Wigton Clark, to whom he was married since 1977.
He had one child, Richard Jr., with his first wife Barbara Mallery, and two children, Duane and Cindy, with his second wife Loretta Martin.
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