Dustin Diamond, Saved By The Bell's Screech, dead at 44

Sarah Carty and Penny Burfitt
·4-min read

Actor Dustin Diamond, who was best known for playing "Screech" on the classic TV show Saved by the Bell, has died at the age of 44.

On January 16th it was reported Dustin was diagnosed with stage four cancer, just days after he was rushed to hospital following an unexpected collapse.

'Saved by the Bell' star Dustin Diamond diagnosed with cancer.
Dustin Diamond has died at the age of 44. Photo: Getty Images

The Saved by the Bell star’s team released a statement about his death to People magazine, saying: "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.

"Dustin Diamond's name was synonymous with Screech, his character on the hit show Saved by the Bell. He portrayed Samuel "Screech" Powers for thirteen years as the cast of the show grew up together in all its series: Good Morning, Miss Bell, Saved by the Bell: The New Class, and Saved By the Bell: The College Years,” the statement continued.

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Dustin Diamond headshot when he was young
He was diagnosed with stage four cancer just three weeks ago. Photo: NBC

“He starred in a handful of reality television series including the 5th season of Celebrity Fit Club, The Weakest Link and Celebrity Boxing 2. He made cameo appearances in films such as Made (2001), Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star (2003) and American Pie Presents: The Book of Love.(2009). In December 2013, Dustin appeared on an episode of OWN's Where Are They Now?and became a house member in the twelfth season of Celebrity Big Brother."

The spokesperson said throughout his life, Dustin had gone through “a great deal of turmoil and heartache” and which he wasn’t “considered reputable by most” his “greatest passion was to make others laugh”.

Saved by the Bell original cast Dustin Diamond diagnosed with cancer
Dustin bought Screech to life for almost 13 years on various iterations of the hit series. Photo: Getty Images

On January 16th, Dustin’s team released a statement revealing the actor had been diagnosed with stage 4 small cell carcinoma.

“At this time we can confirm that Dustin does have cancer,” a message on Dustin’s official Facebook account read. “Dustin will disclose more information once it is available and a plan moving forward is made.”

“We ask everyone to respect Dustin’s privacy during this difficult time,” the post concluded. “All positivity and prayers are appreciated.”

They said the former child actor had begun chemotherapy and was taking the disease very seriously.

“He’s undergoing chemo so he will be there at least another week and then we will figure out when he gets to come home,” a spokesperson told the publication. “By next week, we'll have a much better understanding of the severity of his condition and what treatments he will need so that he’s comfortable.”

The former star sought medical care after reportedly experiencing pain all over the body and a general feeling of ‘unease’.

Dustin bought the character of Screech to life for almost 13 years, cementing himself in 90’s pop culture from the tender age of 11.

Initially, he played the role in Good Morning, Miss Bliss in 1988, finishing up on Saved By the Bell between 1994-2000.

Though co-stars including Mario Lopez, Tori Spelling, Mark-Paul Gosselaar and Elizabeth Burkley went on to celebrated careers, it wasn’t smooth sailing for Duston after the show wrapped.

He was famously embroiled in a sex tape scandal in 2006 in which he released a sex tape that he initially claimed he had starred in, however, he later admitted to Oprah it was a stunt double, and not him in the film.

He was a notable absence from the show’s reboot last year after he released a ‘tell-all’ memoir of his time on the show called Behind the Bell back in 2009 that painted co-stars and production in a less than flattering light.

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