American actor Dustin Diamond, who is popularly known for his character as Samuel Screech Powers on the popular sitcom Saved by the Bell, passed away at the age of 44. Dustin breathed his last after a battle with cancer. The actor died due to carcinoma on Monday morning in a Florida hospital, reported People magazine. He was diagnosed with cancer and hospitalized just three weeks ago.
Diamond's representative confirmed the news to the publication in a statement, "We are saddened to confirm of Dustin Diamond's passing on Monday, February 1st, 2021 due to carcinoma." The rep added, "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."
Many celebrities took to social media and paid their tribute to the actor. Tori Spelling, who shared her first on-screen kiss with Diamond, took to Instagram and shared a heartfelt note with a throwback picture.
Wendy Williams wrote, "Our hearts go out to the family, friends, and fans of actor #DustinDiamond who passed away today at the age of 44 after a short battle with cancer."
Courtney Stodden, who appeared on Celebrity Big Brother alongside Diamond in 2013 also tweeted, "Oh lord. #rip Dustin. I’m shocked. I remember all of the times we were there for each other on the set of #cbb like captured in this photo," she wrote. "You were talking me out of feeling sorry for myself. You were a sensitive yet strong soul. I’m so sorry."
Diamond's representative had confirmed the actor's cancer diagnosis to People magazine last month. A week later, on January 21, the rep said that the actor had started chemotherapy for stage 4 small cell carcinoma, cancer that commonly occurs in the lungs, but can also manifest in the prostate or gastrointestinal tract. The second round of chemotherapy was being scheduled and Diamond was also set to begin physical therapy in the near future.
Diamond got his start in the industry with roles in the TV movie 'Yogi's Great Escape' and an episode of 'It's a Living' in 1987. He bagged his breakout role just one year later. Cast in 'Good Morning, Miss Bliss', the actor portrayed Screech for 13 episodes. The show would go on to be the basis for 'Saved by the Bell', which Diamond acted in until 1992.
Diamond continued to reprise his role for the franchise in various spinoffs, including 'Saved by the Bell: The College Years' and 'Saved by the Bell: The New Class', the latter of which he starred in for nearly six years.
Although Diamond is synonymous with the 'Saved by the Bell' franchise, he was the only original core cast member to not appear in Peacock's revival series that launched in November 2020. Diamond also wrote a memoir about his time with the 'Saved by the Bell' franchise.
Titled 'Behind the Bell', the book recounts alleged controversies related to the cast members, including himself. He also appeared on a variety of reality shows including 'Celebrity Fit Club', 'Celebrity Big Brother', 'The Weakest Link', and 'Celebrity Boxing 2'.
The star featured as himself in a variety of shows and films following his stint as Screech, among these being 'Made, 'Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star', 'Four Corners Road', and 'American Pie Presents: The Book of Love'. Diamond also showed up on the big screen in 'Made' (2001), 'Pauly Shore Is Dead' (2003), 'Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star' (2003), 'Tetherball: The Movie' (2010), 'All Wifed Out' (2012) and 'College Fright Night' (2014). Diamond was married to Jennifer Misner from 2009 to 2013. Diamond was arrested in 2014 and served three months in prison in 2015 for stabbing a man during a bar fight. He was arrested again in May 2016 for violating the terms of his probation.
- with ANI inputs