Saved By The Bell star Dustin Diamond dies at 44 following battle with stage four lung cancer
- Dustin Diamond died on Monday aged 44 just three weeks after being diagnosed with stage four lung cancer
- Diamond, best known for playing Screech in Saved by the Bell, was diagnosed after being hospitalized in Florida last month
- His condition is believed to have deteriorated rapidly in the last week after going through his initial rounds of chemotherapy
- The actor was taken off breathing machines to get him to hospice care
Dustin Diamond – best known for playing Samuel ‘Screech’ Powers on NBC’s hit sitcom Saved by the Bell – has died following a short battle with stage four lung cancer.
The 44-year-old actor died on Monday just three weeks after being diagnosed, his representative said.
Diamond died with his girlfriend by his side.
He was diagnosed with cancer after being hospitalized in Florida last month after experiencing pain throughout his entire body.
He was officially diagnosed with stage four small cell carcinoma.
His condition is believed to have deteriorated rapidly in the last week after going through his initial rounds of chemotherapy.
RIP: Saved By The Bell star Dustin Diamond dies at 44 amid Stage Four cancer battle; seen in 2016
The 44-year-old Saved by the Bell actor was diagnosed with cancer after being hospitalized in Florida last month after experiencing pain throughout his entire body. He is pictured above in hospital
A source told TMZ that he was taken off breathing machines to get him to hospice care.
‘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,’ a statement from his rep said.
‘Dustin did not suffer. He did not have to lie submerged in pain. For that, we are grateful.’
Diamond’s rep noted the actor’s history of mishaps throughout his career, which included a sex tape and a run-in with the law, but said he was a ‘humorous and high-spirited individual whose greatest passion was to make others laugh’.
‘We want the public to understand that he was not intentionally malevolent. He -much like the rest of those who act out and behave poorly – had undergone a great deal of turmoil and heartache. His actions, though rebukeable, stemmed from loss and the lack of knowledge on how to process that pain properly,’ the statement said.
‘In actuality, 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, who was born in 1977, was just 10-years-old when he started acting. He was cast in the role that would be his claim to fame – Screech, the geeky sidekick to popular kid Zack Morris – in the late 1980s.
Saved by the Bell, which centered around Morris and his friends at Bayside High School in California, premiered in 1989. Typically airing on Saturday mornings, the popular show was aimed at teens. It was made into movies and two spin-offs that included the group at college and a new class. Most recently, it was rebooted in 2020, but Diamond did not reprise his role.
After the show ended in 2000, Diamond’s career floundered and he later appeared on reality shows like Celebrity Fit Club, Celebrity Boxing 2 and Celebrity Big Brother.
After being closely associated with a character for over a decade, at 23, Diamond admitted in a 2013 interview for Oprah’s Where Are They Now? that he was lost.
‘The hardest thing about being a child star is that you are giving up your childhood. You don’t get a childhood really,’ he said.
‘I didn’t really know what I was going to do. It was hard to get work that wasn’t Screech clone stuff… As I mature, I realize, wow, I was kind of going through my rebellious teens in my 20s.’
He tried his hand as a stand-up comedian and performed with bands. While he made appearances and had some small roles, his career struggled.
In 2006, he released a sex tape called Screeched-Saved by the Smell that he directed and supposedly starred in. Diamond later claimed that it wasn’t actually him the video and it was a stuntman with his face superimposed on it.
‘The sex tape is the thing that I’m most embarrassed about,’ he said during the 2013 interview.
‘You know, I definitely got some money off of it but it wasn’t worth what the fallout was. I mean people to this day, they look down on me.’
Three years later, in 2009, he released a memoir called Behind the Bell, which painted an unflattering portrait of his fellow cast members. Diamond disavowed some of the more salacious details by blaming the ghostwriter.
‘The book was another disappointment of mine,’ he said in the 2013 interview. ‘I talked to a guy a few times, so the book has some truth in it, and a lot of the stories were just kinda throwaways.’
He also claimed in the interview that he expected to approve the book before it was published but instead it was sent to him after it was released.
On Christmas in 2014, Diamond got into a bar fight and allegedly stabbed a man in a town near Milwaukee. He was found guilty the following year of disorderly conduct and carrying a concealed weapon.
He was sentenced to four months in jail and served three months.
Diamond later told Mario Lopez, his former co-star who was then the host of Extra, that someone hit his then fiancee Amanda Schutz while they were out celebrating Christmas. He said he took out his pocketknife to protect her.
When Saved by the Bell was rebooted, Diamond – unlike other original cast members – was not asked to returned. The show premiered in November 2020 on NBCUniversal’s new streaming service, Peacock.
The good ole days: Thiessen, Gosselaar, Diamond and Lopez in 1996
Better days: In 2002, Diamond posed during Celebrity Boxing 2 Weigh-In at KTLA Studios in Hollywood
Another TV show: Diamond and Courtney Stodden on Celebrity Big Brother in Britain in 2013
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