Weeks after he was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer, Saved by the Bell star Dustin Diamond has passed away. According to a rep for the actor, Diamond died on Monday morning after his condition had greatly declined over the past week. With his girlfriend by his side, Diamond reportedly died after he was taken off of breathing machines in an attempt to get him to hospice care. He was 44 years old.
Last month, it was reported that Diamond has been hospitalized with an illness suspected to be cancer. Doctors confirmed those fears with a diagnosis of stage 4 small cell carcinoma, otherwise referred to as advanced lung cancer. He had since started chemotherapy treatments with plans to battle the disease. Days ago, Diamond theorized that staying in cheap motels as a traveling comedian may have contributed to his illness, but it was also in his family as his mother died of breast cancer.
Diamond is best known for playing Samuel "Screech" Powers on the 1990s comedy series Saved by the Bell. He also appeared in both of the original spinoff shows, Saved by the Bell: The New Class and Saved by the Bell: The College Years. He was one of the only original cast members not to appear in the Peacock revival that premiered in November, and his absence was explained away with the revelation that Screech and his robot friend were now living on the International Space Station.
Last year, Diamond spoke about the Peacock reboot, which was still in the works at the time. He said he hadn't been contacted about appearing in the new Saved by the Bell, but made it clear in an interview with TMZ that he was hoping to get the opportunity to return to the role of Screech. Showrunner Tracey Wigfield had since teased that revisiting Screech was a possibility in a future season if the series was renewed, which it was just last month.
After his diagnosis, Diamond's Saved by the Bell co-star Mario Lopez reached out to him to offer his support. Taking to Twitter to speak about the situation, Lopez wrote, "I connected with Dustin earlier this evening and although the news of his diagnosis is heartbreaking, we remain positive that he'll overcome this. Praying for him & his family and for a speedy recovery."
In a separate post on Instagram, Saved by the Bell star Lark Voorhies also posted an image of herself alongside Dustin and said, "I'd like to take the time to send special love and special best wishes to Dustin Diamond, who is one of my dearest friends. Dustin, all the many in your close circle who know you to be the great person that you are, are truly pulling for you and praying for the best outcome."
Along with his role as Screech, Diamond's work as a child actor also included roles in The Wonder Years and the classic comedy Purple People Eater. After Saved by the Bell, he continued to act in various movies and television shows, though he often made cameo appearances as himself. As Dustin Diamond, he has appeared in movies like Big Fat Liar and Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star. Oddly, his final role in 2017 was for the Adult Swim comedy series Your Pretty Face Is Going to Hell that depicted Diamond playing himself in the afterlife.
At this time, our thoughts go out to those who knew Dustin best during this difficult time of mourning. There's no one else quite like Dustin Diamond, and that will ensure that he will always be remembered. May he forever rest in peace. This news comes to us from TMZ.