US actor Dustin Diamond, best known for his role as Screech in hit show Saved By The Bell, has died from cancer at the age of 44, his representative has said.
A statement from his representative Roger Paul said: “We are saddened to confirm of Dustin Diamond’s passing on Monday, February 1st, 2021 due to carcinoma.
“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.”
Mr Paul added: “Dustin Diamond was a character in and of himself: an unpredictable spitfire who always left us shocked, but never left us bored.
“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.”
Tributes came from Diamond’s former Saved By The Bell co-stars.
Mario Lopez, who played A C Slater, wrote on Twitter: “Dustin, 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…”
Dustin, 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… pic.twitter.com/BnxY9XgN5g— Mario Lopez (@mariolopezviva) February 1, 2021
Mark-Paul Gosselaar, who played Zack Morris, said: “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.”
Actress Tiffani Thiessen, who played Kelly Kapowski, said: “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.”
Diamond was hospitalised in Florida last month and his team later disclosed that he had cancer.
He was diagnosed with Stage 4 small cell carcinoma, commonly referred to as lung cancer, in early January, Celebrity website TMZ reports.
Diamond played nerdy sidekick Samuel “Screech” Powers in the original Saved By The Bell across four seasons, from 1989 to 1993.
He also appeared in 1992 TV movie Saved By The Bell: Hawaiian Style, and revivals The New Class and The College Years.
Diamond did not appear in the most recent 2020 revival series which included several of the show’s original stars.
He had stints on reality TV shows like Celebrity Fit Club and The Weakest Link. He also appeared on the UK’s 12th series of Celebrity Big Brother but was evicted in the third week.
His career was not without controversy. The actor controversially released a self-directed sex tape in 2006 and in 2009 he wrote a tell-all book about his time in the teen sitcom.
He later said many of the salacious details were exaggerated by his ghost-writer.
In 2015, he was sentenced to serve four months in prison for his part in a Wisconsin bar stabbing.
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