Dustin Diamond, the actor known for playing “Screech” in the 90s hit sitcom “Saved by the Bell,” died on Monday.
The 44-year-old’s death came just weeks after he was diagnosed with cancer, shocking his co-stars and fans.
Short battle with cancer
“Dustin did not suffer. He did not have to lie submerged in pain. For that, we are grateful,” his spokesman, Roger Paul, said in a statement.
The actor had been hospitalized in January with stage 4 small cell carcinoma. His girlfriend was with him when he died.
Diamond was best known for playing the nerdy high school student Samuel “Screech” Powers in “Saved by The Bell,” which ran from 1989 to 1993. He also appeared in spinoffs such as “Saved by the Bell: The College Years” and “Saved by the Bell: The New Class.”
Diamond also appeared in reality shows such as “Celebrity Fit Club,” “The Weakest Link” and “Celebrity Boxing 2,” and had cameos in movies like “Made,” “Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star,” and “American Pie Presents: The Book of Love.”
The Screech character would define Diamond’s career, and in later years he spoke out about being typecast. His life grew tumultuous. He released a sex tape at one point and was sentenced to jail briefly in 2015 for a stabbing at a bar.
Other appearances include OWN’s “Where Are They Now?” in 2013 and season 12 of “Celebrity Big Brother,” and he was a regular in the comedy scenes of New York and LA, Fox reports. He did not appear in a sequel to “Saved by the Bell” that launched recently.
The news of his death was met with tributes from his former co-stars. Co-star Tiffani Thiessen said, “God Speed, Dustin.”
“Dustin, you will be missed, my man,” said co-star Mario Lopez. “The fragility of this life is something never to be taken for granted.” Mark-Paul Gosselaar called him a “comedic genius,” saying, “I will miss those raw, brilliant sparks that only he was able to produce.”
Diamond’s spokesman said that the late actor, despite a “history of mishaps” and “rebukeable” actions, was “not intentionally malevolent.”
“In actuality, Dustin was a humorous and high-spirited individual whose greatest passion was to make others laugh,” Paul continued. “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.” RIP.