“Saved by the Bell” star Dustin Diamond died Monday after a three-week fight with carcinoma, according to his representatives. He was 44.
“Dustin did not suffer. He did not have to lie submerged in pain. For that, we are grateful,” Diamond’s team said in a statement to the Associated Press and “Entertainment Tonight.”
Diamond, best known for playing Screech on the hit ’90s sitcom, was hospitalized last month in Florida and his team disclosed later that he had cancer.
Former co-star Mario Lopez took to Twitter to say farewell: “Dustin, you will be missed, my man. The fragility of this life is something never to be taken for granted.”
Another co-star, Mark-Paul Gosselaar, called Diamond “a true comedic genius.” “Looking back at our time working together, I will miss those raw, brilliant sparks that only he was able to produce,” Gosselaar said. “A pie in your face, my comrade.”
“Life is extremely fragile and it’s something we should never take for granted,” co-star Tiffani Thiessen said. “God speed Dustin.”
“Saved by the Bell” aired from 1989 to 1993, and its spinoffs included “Saved by the Bell: The College Years,” “Good Morning, Miss Bliss” and “Saved by the Bell: The New Class,” which Diamond starred in. A sequel was launched on Peacock last fall featuring many from the original cast, including Elizabeth Berkley, Lopez, Thiessen and Gosselaar. Diamond was not included.
He starred in a handful of reality television series including the fifth season of “Celebrity Fit Club,” “The Weakest Link” and “Celebrity Boxing 2.” In December 2013, Diamond appeared on an episode of OWN’s “Where Are They Now?” and became a house member in the 12th season of “Celebrity Big Brother.”
Diamond was sued several times for delinquent taxes and in foreclosure proceedings for missing mortgage payments. He made a sex tape and produced a tell-all documentary on Lifetime TV called “The Unauthorized Saved by the Bell Story.” In 2015, he was sentenced to serve four months in jail for his part in a.
“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,” Diamond’s team said.