Dustin Diamond, the actor best known for his portrayal of Samuel (Screech) Powers on the original Saved By the Bell series, has died at age 44 from lung cancer.
“We are saddened to confirm Dustin Diamond’s passing on Monday, February 1st, 2021 due to carcinoma,” read a statement from his representatives to ET Canada.
“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.”
“We’ve been working alongside Dustin over the last twenty-one years,” the statement continued. “It goes without saying that our relationship cannot be categorized exclusively as business. He has become a larger part of our everyday life: A part of our family and friend circle. We are aware that Dustin is not considered reputable by most.
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, though rebukeable (sic), 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.”
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“Dustin Diamond was a character in and of himself: an unpredictable spitfire who always left us shocked, but never left us bored. We are thankful he trusted us enough to share his genuine, authentic self with our team. We wish you knew him in the way that we did. We please ask that you give room for privacy to our team and Mr. Diamond’s family during this tragic time, as we grieve and remember the memories spent together. This loss is as much stinging as it is sudden.”
Diamond was admitted to a Florida hospital in mid-January after he began experiencing pain all over his body.
“We can confirm that Dustin does have cancer,” his rep confirmed at the time. “It’s very serious, though we are still waiting for more details, which we will have shortly. He’s in a lot of pain.”
Diamond is best-known for his character Samuel “Screech” Powers, one of the core cast members of the original Saved By the Bell series that ran from 1989 to 1992. He also appeared in follow-up series The College Years and The New Class, as well as Good Morning, Miss Bliss, Saved By the Bell‘s predecessor.
He was the only original cast member not to appear in the recent reboot of the series.
Diamond appeared on Celebrity Big Brother in 2013.
Former castmate Mario Lopez said he reached out to Diamond upon hearing about the cancer diagnosis, and posted a throwback photo of the pair to his social media when Diamond first went to hospital.
Diamond was married to longtime girlfriend Jennifer Misner from 2009 until they separated in 2013.