Dustin Diamond of “Saved by the Bell” Dead at 44

The actor, best known for his role as Screech, died just three weeks after being diagnosed with cancer

dustin diamond of saved by the bell
Dustin Diamond visits "Extra" at Universal Studios Hollywood on May 16, 2016 in Universal City, California.
Noel Vasquez/Getty Images

Actor Dustin Diamond, best known as the nerdy Screech on ’90s high school sitcom Saved by the Bell, has died just three weeks after being diagnosed with stage 4 carcinoma that had metastasized to his lungs. He was 44 years old.

Diamond was hospitalized in mid-January with widespread pain when he received the heartbreaking cancer diagnosis, and though he began chemotherapy shortly thereafter, Page Six reports that his condition declined rapidly over the weekend and “he had been taken off breathing tubes in order to transport him to hospice care.”

After his run on the popular teen series, Diamond sparked controversy by releasing a tell-all book called Behind the Bell in 2009 that painted his castmates in a less-than-flattering light. He was not invited to a 2015 reunion appearance on The Tonight Show, and he was also left out of the recent Saved by the Bell reboot for NBC’s streaming service Peacock.

Unable to fully break out of his past as a child actor, Diamond resorted to reality TV in later years, appearing on shows like Celebrity Fit Club, Celebrity Boxing 2 and Celebrity Championship Wrestling. In 2015, he was sentenced to three months in prison for allegedly stabbing a man with a switchblade during a bar fight in Wisconsin the year prior.

Despite their at-times fraught relationships, several of Diamond’s former co-stars paid tribute to him on social media after news of his death broke. “Dustin, you will be missed my man,” Mario Lopez wrote on Instagram. “The fragility of this life is something never to be taken for granted. Prayers for your family will continue on…”

“I am deeply saddened by the news of my old co-star @realdustindiamond passing,” Tiffani Theissen wrote. “Life is extremely fragile, and it’s something we should never take for granted. God speed Dustin.”

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