Dustin Diamond, a long-time actor best known for his role as Samuel "Screech" Powers on the beloved Saturday morning sitcom Saved by the Bell, passed away on Monday morning.
He was 44 years old.
The actor's passing was sudden; Dustin had been diagnosed with stage four lung cancer less than a month ago.
According to TMZ insiders, Diamond was taken off breathing machines and placed under hospice care a few days back.
He died with his girlfriend by his side.
Fans first learned that Diamond was hospitalized in early January with what turned out to be small cell carcinoma.
The actor himself never came out and addressed the diagnosis or the severe illness, but through his representatives and/or family members, a post on his official Facebook page on Janauary 14 stated:
"At this time we can confirm that Dustin does have cancer."
This same post continued:
“Dustin will disclose more information once it is available and a plan moving forward is made."
We later heard that Diamond was in a lot of pain, and that the prognosis for the former teen star was not look very good.
"Right now, he’s just suffering," an insider previously told Us Weekly.
"He has his ups and downs where he’s great one minute, but then he can be in a lot of pain -- tears. It’s such an emotional time."
Thankfully, at least, Diamond's pain has now come to an end.
“We are saddened to confirm Dustin Diamond’s passing on Monday, February 1st, 2021 due to carcinoma," his rep confirmed today in a statement.
"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 live submerged in pain. For that, we are grateful."
A California native, Diamond debuted as the the nerdy and sweet character of Screech Powers in 1988 on the Disney Channel series Good Morning, Miss Bliss.
Although this program was quickly canceled, Screech immediately moved over to the NBC program Saved by the Bell, which was loosely based on the series.
The show aired from 1989 to 1993.
He appeared in both spinoffs, Saved by the Bell: The College Years and Saved by the Bell: The New Class.
Due to a handful of legal and person issues, however, Diamond was not asked to play any role in the Peacock revival of Saved by the Bell, which was just picked up for Season 2.
Prior to his passing, and prior to his condition suddenly getting much worse last week, a second round of chemotherapy was being scheduled.
Also, Diamond was also set to begin physical therapy in the near future, according to NBC News.
He was married to Jennifer Misner - of Big Brother U.K. fame - from 2009 to 2013.
He did not leave behind any kids.
Continued the statement that confirmed this terrible news:
We've been working alongside Dustin over the last twenty-one years. It goes without saying that our relationship cannot be categorized exclusively as business.
He has become a larger part of our everyday life: A part of our family and friend circle. We are aware that Dustin is not considered reputable by most.
He's had a history of mishaps, of unfortunate events.
We want the public to understand that he was not intentionally malevolent. He--much like the rest of those who act out and behave poorly—had undergone a great deal of turmoil and heartache.
His actions, though rebukeable, stemmed from loss and the lack of knowledge on how to process that pain properly. In actuality, Dustin was a humorous and high-spirited individual whose greatest passion was to make others laugh.
He was able to sense and feel other peoples' emotions to such a length that he was able to feel them too—a strength and a flaw, all in one.
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.
May Dustin Diamond rest in peace.