Dustin Diamond, who is best known for playing Samuel “Screech” Powers on the 1990s sitcom Saved By The Bell, died on Monday after battling stage four cancer. He was 44.

“We are saddened to confirm of Dustin Diamond’s passing on Monday, February 1st, 2021 due to carcinoma,” Diamond’s rep Roger Paul said in a statement. “He was diagnosed with this brutal, relentless form of malignant cancer only three weeks ago. In that time, it managed to spread rapidly throughout his system; the only mercy it exhibited was its sharp and swift execution. Dustin did not suffer. He did not have to lie submerged in pain. For that, we are grateful.”

Diamond’s cancer diagnoses was publicly confirmed on January 14, and the former child star began chemotherapy on January 21.

“We are aware that Dustin is not considered reputable by most,” the rep said. “He’s had a history of mishaps, of unfortunate events. We want the public to understand that he was not intentionally malevolent. He – much like the rest of those who act out and behave poorly – had undergone a great deal of turmoil and heartache. His actions… stemmed from loss and the lack of knowledge on how to process that pain properly. In actuality, Dustin was a humorous and high-spirited individual whose greatest passion was to make others laugh. He was able to sense and feel other peoples’ emotions to such a length that he was able to feel them too—a strength and a flaw, all in one.”

Diamond portrayed Screech for 13 years on Saved By The Bell and its sequels Good Morning, Miss [Bliss], Saved by the Bell: The New Class, and Saved By the Bell: The College Years. He also appeared on reality shows Celebrity Big BrotherCelebrity Fit Club and The Weakest Link.

Diamond did not join the rest of his former costars for the Peacock reboot of Saved By The Bell, though he had hoped to appear later on in the series if the show is greenlit for a second season.

Some of Diamond’s former costars remembered him on Twitter:

“Dustin, you will be missed my man,” said Mario Lopez, who played A.C. Slater on the show. “The fragility of this life is something never to be taken for granted. Prayers for your family will continue on…”

“Deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Dustin Diamond,” said Mark-Paul Gosselaar, who played Zack Morris, “a true comedic genius. My sincere condolences to his family and friends. Looking back at our time working together, I will miss those raw, brilliant sparks that only he was able to produce. A pie in your face, my comrade.”

“I am deeply saddened by I the news of my old co-star @realdustindiamond passing,” said Tiffani Thiessen, who played Kelly Kapowski. “Life is extremely fragile and it’s something we should never take for granted. God speed Dustin.”

Jeffrey Weissman, who played “Screech’s Guru” in one episode, shared a photo of the two of them with the caption “RiP.”

 

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