Dustin Diamond, who played the role of Screech on the popular 1990s high school comedy “Saved by the Bell,” died Monday after a recent cancer diagnosis, according to Diamond’s manager, Roger Paul.
He was 44.
“He was diagnosed with this brutal, relentless form of malignant cancer only three weeks ago,” Paul said in a statement he provided to CNN. “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 first shared news of his cancer diagnosis last month.
At the time, his manager said his client’s health was “serious” and that Diamond was undergoing further testing at a Florida hospital. He underwent his first round of chemotherapy days later.
An actor and stand-up comedian, Diamond found fame playing Samuel “Screech” Powers for more than a decade on the “Saved by the Bell” franchise.
The teen series was recently reimagined by the Peacock streaming service with some of the original stars, though not Diamond.
He stirred controversy with his 2009 book “Behind the Bell,” in which Diamond shared backstage stories about shooting the series with some of his accounts being less than flattering to his costars.
He also faced some legal troubles, serving three months in jail for stabbing a man during a 2014 altercation at a bar in Wisconsin.
The actor has appeared in a number of reality shows over the years, including “Celebrity Fit Club,” “Celebrity Boxing 2” and “Celebrity Championship Wrestling.”
Diamond’s “Save by the Bell” costars, Mark-Paul Gosselaar, Mario Lopez and Tiffany Thiessen, paid tribute to the late actor on social media.
“Deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Dustin Diamond, a true comedic genius,” Gosselaar tweeted. “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.”
Deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Dustin Diamond, 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.
— Mark-Paul Gosselaar (@MPG) February 1, 2021
“Dustin, you will be missed my man,” Lopez wrote on Instagram. “The fragility of this life is something never to be taken for granted. Prayers for your family will continue on.”
“I am deeply saddened by I the news of my old co-star @realdustindiamond passing,” Thiessen wrote in an Instagram post. “Life is extremely fragile and it’s something we should never take for granted. God speed Dustin.