‘Saved by the Bell’ star Dustin Diamond dead after brief battle with cancer

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(WJW) — “Saved by the Bell” star Dustin Diamond has passed away, TMZ first reported.

The 44-year-old had just recently been diagnosed with stage 4 small cell carcinoma and was undergoing chemotherapy.

TMZ reports a source close to the actor told them Diamond died Monday morning after his “condition had greatly declined since last week.”

“Dustin did not suffer. He did not have to lie submerged in pain. For that, we are grateful,” the actor’s spokesman, Roger Paul, said in a statement, The Associated Press reported.

They report his dad and girlfriend were by his side when he passed away.

SAVED BY THE BELL — Pictured: (l-r) Lark Voorhies as Lisa Turtle, Ed Alonzo as Max, Tiffani Thiessen as Kelly Kapowski, Mark-Paul Gosselaar as Zack Morris, Dennis Haskins as Mr. Richard Belding, Elizabeth Berkley as Jessie Myrtle Spano, Dustin Diamond as Screech Powers, Mario Lopez as A.C. Slater (Photo by NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images via Getty Images)

Diamond played Samuel “Screech” Powers on “Saved by the Bell,” which aired from 1989 to 1993, and its spinoffs included “Saved by the Bell: The College Years,” “Good Morning, Miss Bliss” and “Saved by the Bell: The New Class,” which Diamond starred in. A sequel was launched on Peacock last fall featuring many from the original cast, including Elizabeth Berkley, Mario Lopez, Tiffani Thiessen and Mark-Paul Gosselaar. Diamond was not included.

Diamond’s former co-stars reacted on social media to the news of his passing. Mark-Paul Gosselaar said, “Deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Dustin Diamond, a true comedic genius. My sincere condolences to his family and friends. Looking back at our time working together, I will miss those raw, brilliant sparks that only he was able to produce. A pie in your face, my comrade.”

Mario Lopez said, “Dustin, you will be missed my man. The fragility of this life is something never to be taken for granted. Prayers for your family will continue on…”

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

Diamond starred in a handful of reality television series including the 5th season of “Celebrity Fit Club,” “The Weakest Link” and “Celebrity Boxing 2.” In December 2013, Diamond appeared on an episode of OWN’s “Where Are They Now?” and became a house member in the 12th season of “Celebrity Big Brother.”

NEW YORK – MAY 21: Actor Dustin Diamond joins the cast of “The Awesome 80’s Prom at Webster Hall on May 21, 2010 in New York City. (Photo by Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images)

Diamond was sued several times for delinquent taxes and in foreclosure proceedings for missing mortgage payments. He has appeared on reality TV shows, made a sex tape and produced a tell-all documentary on Lifetime TV called “The Unauthorized Saved by the Bell Story.” In 2015, he was sentenced to serve four months in jail for his part in a Wisconsin barroom stabbing.

“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,” wrote Paul.

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