“Saved By the Bell” fans are reeling today from the news that original cast member Dustin Diamond has passed today. The star of the 90’s sitcom was 44 years old.
Diamond starred as Samuel “Screech” Powers on the iconic Saturday Morning show, which ran from August 20, 1989 to May 22, 1993. It was a retooling of the Disney Channel series Good Morning, Miss Bliss, and also starred Mark-Paul Gosselaar and Mario Lopez.
Diamonds character was a break-out star and synonymous with the show. Screech’s friendship with Gosselaar’s Zack and adoration of Lisa (portrayed by Lark Voorhies) were central to his character. Prior to “Saved by the Bell” Diamond has had smaller roles as a child actor in such popular shows as “The Wonder Years.” He landed the role of Screech at only 11 years old, and went on to reprise it in both “Saved by the Bell: The College Years” from 1993 to 1994, and “Saved by the Bell: The New Class” in its second season and remained until the series ended in January 2000.
Fans became suspicious that something was wrong when Diamond was not announced as part of the cast of the shows revival season of the same name, which debuted November of 2020 on NBC’s Peacock streaming service.
His spokesperson Roger Paul had revealed at the top of 2021 that the star was battling stage 4 cancer and had been hospitalized in Florida. He later went on to admit that Diamond’s condition “had greatly declined since last week, and he was taken off of breathing machines in an attempt to get him to hospice care” adding, “There were two people very close to him by his side when he passed away.”
BREAKING: ‘Saved by the Bell’ star Dustin Diamond has died at age 44, weeks after he was diagnosed with cancer, his manager says. https://t.co/hxqyHMBLaP pic.twitter.com/rxiNcJ2jgn— NBC News (@NBCNews) February 1, 2021
In an official statement released to NBC News this morning, Paul said “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. “