Dustin Diamond, best known for playing Screech on Saved by the Bell, has died.
He was 44.
The sad news comes following a battle with Stage 4 lung cancer.
“We are saddened to confirm of Dustin Diamond’s passing on Monday, Feb. 1, 2021, due to carcinoma,” reads a statement from the actor’s talent agency.
“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,” it concludes.
The actor was admitted to hospital in January for tests after being revealed to be in excruciating pain.
A post on his Facebook page later revealed a cancer diagnosis.
“At this time we can confirm that Dustin does have cancer,” his team posted.
“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. All positivity and prayers are appreciated.”
They also shared an address for fans to send a card or letter.
“We ask at this time no autograph requests be sent to this address as that isn’t what it’s for. We ask everyone to respect Dustin’s privacy during this difficult time,” the post said.
“All positivity and prayers are appreciated.”
At the time, no details of the type of cancer were revealed, but Entertainment Weekly did report that the star was undergoing chemotherapy and would remain in the hospital for “at least another week and then we will figure out when he gets to come home.”
“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,” his rep told the publication.
Diamond “was fading in and out, feeling sleepy and tired,” when he arrived at the hospital.
Diamond is best known for playing Samuel “Screech” Powers, a role he first played on the 1988 Disney Channel series, Good Morning, Miss Bliss, before reprising it in the Saved by the Bell franchise.
The original series aired from 1989 to 1993, and the star also appeared in multiple spinoffs.
He did not participate in the revival that aired on Peacock last year, but Diamond was not asked back.
“Out of all the cast members, I was in… the most [episodes], and that’s not the case anymore if I’m not in the new one,” Diamond said to TMZ in February 2020.
“And how do you have Saved by the Bell without Screech, right? … We should all be a part of this.”
Diamond gave the outlet a pitch for where he thought Screech would be in the reboot: “Screech should be dealing with parenthood and dealing with his kids, and finding out that… maybe he wasn’t a barrel full of roses to deal with growing up.”
While the Saved by the Bell revival focused on a new group of students, Mario Lopez and Elizabeth Berkley returned in series regular roles as A.C. Slater and Jessie.
The new Saved by the Bell did address the character of Screech in an episode, with the series telling fans that he was living on the International Space Station with his robot Kevin.
Diamond reconnected with former co-star Lopez ahead of his passing.
“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 said on his social media accounts last month.
“Praying for him & his family and for a speedy recovery. God Bless.”
May Dustin Diamond rest in peace.
Paul Dailly is the Associate Editor for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.