Dustin Diamond

Saved By The Bell was a generation-defining series and sadly, today, Bayside High lost one of its most famous alums. On Monday, February 1, it was announced that actor, Dustin Diamond, had died after battling stage IV small cell carcinoma that had metastasized to his lungs.

“He was diagnosed with this brutal, relentless form of malignant cancer only three weeks ago,” Diamond’s manager, Roger Paul, said in a statement to the media. “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.”

The 44-year-old actor’s dad was reportedly with him when he passed away.

“Dustin was a humorous and high-spirited individual whose greatest passion was to make others laugh. He was able to sense and feel other people’s emotions to such a length that he was able to feel them too — a strength and a flaw, all in one,” the statement continued. “Dustin Diamond was a character in and of himself: an unpredictable spitfire who always left us shocked, but never left us bored,” Paul added. “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,” it concluded. “This loss is as much stinging as it is sudden. He left behind a girlfriend, his reps, many friends and friends, who was like family.”

Dustin Diamond In 'Saved By The Bell'

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.

Diamond famously played the nerdy and lovable Samuel “Screech” Powers for close to thirteen years,  beginning on the prime time Disney Channel show Good Morning, Miss Bliss from 1988 through 1989, which was later retooled to Saved By The Bell we all knew and loved, that aired on NBC Saturday mornings from 1989 to 1993. Continuing the series into college, Saved by the Bell: The College Years aired for one season following most of the cast as they were transplanted into not only the same college, but also the same college dormitory, where Screech continued his typical misadventures. Diamond then returned to Bayside High as Principal Belding’s assistant in Saved by the Bell: The New Class episodes, remaining with the show until its cancellation in 2000.

Saved by the Bell

Mark-Paul Gosselaar, who famously played Zach Morris, and Screech’s best friend, in the teen series, was one of the first to tweet his condolences.

“Deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Dustin Diamond, a true comedic genius,” the 46-year-old wrote. “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.”

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

Elizabeth Berkley, who played Jessie Spano took to the gram expressing her sadness.  Sharing a series of throwback photo from their time on set, the actress wrote, “I’m grateful to have gotten to create with Dustin when we were at the beginning of our dreams coming true. I will hold onto those sweet memories and the laughs we shared. Rest In Peace.”

Tori Spelling, who played Screech’s funny four-eyed girlfriend, Violet Bickerstaff, also posted a tribute to the actor on Instagram.

“Before there was David and Donna, there was Screech and Violet,”  the Beverly Hills, 90210 actress  captioned a photo of the on-screen couple.”Dustin was my first on-screen kiss. He welcomed me with open arms onto the set of Saved By the Bell. As one can imagine being the newbie on a hit show was overwhelming for a 14-year-old girl. He not only showed me around but made sure I was always ok. Such a young gentleman. He was kind, smart, and always making everyone laugh. He was a great scene partner. He was a really good guy. I’m sad after the show we never had much contact aside from occasionally running into each other at events. I’m glad he’s out of pain. He’s an icon to me professionally and personally. RIP Samuel love, your Violet ❤️”

SAVED BY THE BELL

Remembering his friend, Mario Lopez opened up about the death of his former costar, Dustin Diamond, during Monday’s episode of Access Hollywood.

“He was like a little brother to me, we always remained in contact over the years,” the host said. “I actually just spoke with him a couple of weeks ago after he got his diagnosis. Even then, he was full of energy and he was so optimistic. Life is just so fragile and not to be taken for granted. Our prayers are with Dustin’s family and his friends.”

Earlier in the day, the 47-year-old, who played jock A.C. Slater, paid tribute to Diamond via Instagram, sharing multiple photos of them together and writing, “You will be missed my man. The fragility of this life is something never to be taken for granted. Prayers for your family will continue on.”

Lark Voorhies, who played Lisa Turtle (Screech’s longtime crush), has yet to react publicly to Diamond’s death. However, she shared a photo of herself with the actor on Instagram when it was revealed he had been hospitalized last month.

“I’d like to take the time to send special love and special best wishes to Dustin Diamond, who is one of my dearest friends,” her caption read. “Dustin, all the many in your close circle who know you to be the great person that you are, are truly pulling for you and praying for the best outcome.”

Dustin Diamond On "Extra"

The teen series was recently reimagined by the Peacock streaming service with some of the original stars, although Diamond was not involved. As many fans remember, he published an inside story of the show’s cast and crew, from his point of view, titled Behind the Bell in 2009. The book painted an unflattering portrait of many of his colleagues and their alleged, sordid backstage behavior. Diamond later backtracked and said some of the allegations were fabricated from very minor statements he made to a ghostwriter during an interview.

In addition to his book, Diamond spent his post-Bell days touring his stand-up comedy on and off and was featured on a number of game and reality shows including The Weakest Link, Celebrity Boxing 2, Hulk Hogan’s Celebrity Championship Wrestling, Celebrity Fit Club, and Celebrity Big Brother in the UK.

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