“Saved by the Bell” star Dustin Diamond has died after a brief battle with stage 4 cancer. He was 44 years old.
The actor passed away this morning, his team announced on Facebook, after being diagnosed just last month.
“In that time, it managed to spread rapidly throughout his system; the only mercy it exhibited was its sharp and swift execution,” his team’s statement said. “Dustin did not suffer. He did not have to lie submerged in pain. For that, we are grateful.”
His condition had declined drastically over the weekend and he had been taken off breathing tubes in order to transport him to hospice care.
Diamond’s father and his girlfriend were by his side when he passed.
Diamond, best known for his role as Samuel “Screech” Powers on the beloved NBC show, which ran in the late ’80s and early ’90s, as well as spinoffs including “The New Class,” was hospitalized in mid-January with widespread pain.
He reportedly feared it was cancer because of his family history, including his mother’s death from breast cancer.
His team confirmed his cancer diagnosis just days later via social media, and he started chemotherapy immediately for stage 4 small cell carcinoma that had metastasized to his lungs.
Diamond, who was born in 1977, was just 10-years-old when he started acting.
He was cast in the role that would be his claim to fame – Screech, the geeky sidekick to popular kid Zack Morris – in the late 1980s.
Saved by the Bell, which centered around Morris and his friends at Bayside High School in California, premiered in 1989.
Typically airing on Saturday mornings, the popular show was aimed at teens.
It was made into movies and two spin-offs that included the group at college and a new class.
Most recently, it was rebooted in 2020, but Diamond did not reprise his role.
After the show ended in 2000, Diamond’s career floundered and he later appeared on reality shows like Celebrity Fit Club, Celebrity Boxing 2 and Celebrity Big Brother.
Former co-star Mario Lopez was among those to pay tribute to Diamond, tweeting: ‘Dustin, you will be missed, my man. The fragility of this life is something never to be taken for granted.’
His other former co-star, Tiffani Thiessen, tweeted: ‘I am deeply saddened by I the news of my old co-star @realdustindiamond passing. Life is extremely fragile and it’s something we should never take for granted. God speed Dustin.’ .