Dustin Diamond , best known for playing the lovable goofball Samuel “Screech” Powers on the hit NBC sitcom, Saved by the Bell, has died.
A representative for the actor told TMZ that Diamond died Monday morning. Because his condition had greatly declined since last week, he was reportedly taken off of breathing machines in an attempt to get him to hospice care. His father was by his side when he passed away.
This tragic news comes just a few weeks after Dustin completed his first round of chemotherapy after being diagnosed with stage 4 small cell carcinoma, commonly referred to as lung cancer. TMZ goes on to report that the cancer started somewhere in Dustin’s body and metastasized in his lungs.
The star was first taken to the hospital in Florida back in January after feeling “pain all over his body and a general sense of unease.” Unfortunately, he was diagnosed with cancer. The diagnosis immediately worried the Dustin’s camp since the star’s family has a history of cancer, with his mother passing away from breast cancer a few years ago.
Dustin rose to fame while playing Zack Morris’ sidekick Screech on four seasons of Saved by the Bell from 1989 to 1993. After the kids graduated from Bayside High, the show got a short-lived spinoff with Saved by the Bell: The College Years. That was followed by Saved by the Bell: The New Class, in which Dustin appeared as Screech from season 2 to 7, playing Mr. Belding’s assistant.
Last year, the popular ‘90s show was revived once again for a new series on Peacock, which features the series’ original stars sending their own kids to Bayside High. While most of the OG cast returned to the show, Dustin wasn’t recast for the reboot, shocking fans.
In January 2020, TMZ talked to Diamond about why he wasn’t signed on for the new project, and while he didn’t know why he was left out, he did his part to argue for Screech’s reprisal.
Aside from his most famous role, Dustin also appeared in a lot of other notable films and television series, including reality shows like Celebrity Boxing 2 and Celebrity Fit Club.
Some of Diamond’s former Saved By The Bell cast members posted about the star in light of the news, including Mario Lopez, who sent love to his family.
“Dustin, you will be missed my man,” he wrote on Twitter. “The fragility of this life is something never to be taken for granted. Prayers for your family will continue on...”
Dustin was 44 years old. Rest In Peace.