Saved by the Bell star Dustin Diamond dead of cancer at 44
Saved by the Bell star Dustin Diamond died Monday after a three-week fight with cancer, according to his spokesperson. He was 44.
“Dustin did not suffer,” Roger Paul said in a statement. “He did not have to lie submerged in pain. For that, we are grateful.”
Diamond — best known for playing Screech on the hit ’90s sitcom — was hospitalized last month in Florida. His team disclosed later that he had carcinoma.
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.”
‘True comedic genius’
Another co-star, Mark-Paul Gosselaar, called Diamond “a true comedic genius.”
“I will miss those raw, brilliant sparks that only he was able to produce,” Gosselaar said.
Saved by the Bell, centred on a group of teenage friends at a fictional California high school, aired on NBC from 1989 to 1993.
Its related shows included Saved by the Bell: The College Years, Good Morning, Miss Bliss and Saved by the Bell: The New Class, which also starred Diamond.
Video-streaming service Peacock launched a sequel last fall, which featured many from the original cast, including Gosselaar, Lopez, Elizabeth Berkley and Tiffani Thiessen. Diamond was not included.
“Life is extremely fragile and it’s something we should never take for granted,” Thiessen said on Instagram in reaction to news of Diamond’s death. “God speed Dustin.”
Reality TV followed stardom
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 on the twelfth season of Celebrity Big Brother.
Diamond was sued several times for delinquent taxes and in foreclosure proceedings for missing mortgage payments. Aside from appearing on reality TV shows, 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 four months in jail for his part in a Wisconsin barroom stabbing.
“Dustin was a humorous and high-spirited individual whose greatest passion was to make others laugh,” said Paul in the statement. “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.”