Saved by the Bell star dead at 44
Saved by the Bell actor Dustin Diamond has died aged 44.
The former teen star had stage 4 lung cancer and was diagnosed three weeks ago.
Diamond's team announced via Facebook he passed away Monday morning. It is understood he was being treated in a hospital in Florida.
"We are saddened to confirm of Dustin Diamond's passing on Monday, February 1st, 2021 due to carcinoma," Diamond's official social media page read.
"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."
TMZ reports he was taken off breathing machines to transfer to hospice care.
Diamond started his first round of chemotherapy just two week ago.
His family have a history of the disease, with his mother dying of breast cancer.
Diamond is most famous for playing Samuel "Screech" Powers on four seasons ofNBC sitcom Saved By The Bell, which first aired in 1989.
The star was noticeably missing from the reboot that premiered in 2020, which is likely due to his complicated history with the show.
While most of the Bell cast has gone on to have successful careers like Mario Lopez and Mark-Paul Gosselaar, Diamond has not had an easy time.
He released a sex tape (which he later revealed wasn't actually him) and a book that painted an unflattering portrait of his colleagues that he similarly back-pedalled on.
Speaking to Oprah's Where are they now? in 2013, Diamond said he "felt lost" when, at 23 years of age, his role as Screech came to an end.
"I wanted a year or two off just to myself because I felt like I'd earned it," Diamond said.
When his diagnosis emerged, former Bell co-stars Mario Lopez and Tiffani Thiessen sent messages of support via social media.
"I connected with Dustin earlier this evening and although the news of his diagnosis is heartbreaking, we remain positive that he'll overcome this," Lopez captioned two photos of the co-stars - one from their hit series and one from a 2016 interview.
"Praying for him & his family and for a speedy recovery. God Bless."
Meanwhile Thiessen, 46, posted a photo of Diamond on her Instagram Story and wrote, "Thinking of you Dustin."
Diamond's team added on Facebook of his death: "Dustin Diamond was a character in and of himself: an unpredictable spitfire who always left us shocked, but never left us bored. We are thankful he trusted us enough to share his genuine, authentic self with our team. We wish you knew him in the way that we did. We please ask that you give room for privacy to our team and Mr. Diamond's family during this tragic time, as we grieve and remember the memories spent together. This loss is as much stinging as it is sudden."
Originally published as Saved by the Bell star dead at 44