Dustin Diamond, primarily known for playing Samuel “Screech” Powers on the hit ’90s sitcom “Saved by the Bell,” has passed away this morning after a battle with lung cancer. He was 44.
He was diagnosed with cancer just three weeks ago. His agent released the following statement:
“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.
Dustin Diamond was a character in and of himself: an unpredictable spitfire who always left us shocked, but never left us bored. 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.”
At only 11 years old, Dustin Diamond secured the role of Screech on the pilot episode of Good Morning, Miss Bliss in 1988. The following year, after just one season, the show was rebranded as Saved by the Bell, which ran until 2000.
Diamond did have his fair share of troubles after the show.
In 2009, Diamond released the tell-all book titled, Behind the Bell, talking shit about his time on the show, and his fellow castmates. He later admitted that most of the book was untrue and taken out of context since he didn’t write it. A few years later, he served jail time after he was involved in a bar fight that resulted in a stabbing. He was later arrested again after violating the terms of his probation.
His agent addressed that as well:
“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.”
If you grew up in the ’90s, Saved By The Bell was a cornerstone show in your childhood television lineup. And while I was always more of a Boy Meets World guy, it’s a shame to see an actor like Dustin gone so soon.