WASHINGTON — Dustin Diamond, best known for playing Samuel "Screech" Powers on the TV sitcom "Saved by the Bell," died Monday after a three-week fight with carcinoma, according to his representative. He was 44.
“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.
Diamond was hospitalized last month in Florida and his team disclosed later that he had cancer.
In a statement posted on his Facebook page on Jan. 14, his team confirmed that Diamond was diagnosed with stage 4 small cell carcinoma.
On top of his performance on "Saved by the Bell," Diamond also appeared in several other TV series like "Tom Goes to the Mayor," "Off Centre" and "Getting By," according to his IMDB page.
“Saved by the Bell” aired from 1989 to 1993, and its spinoffs included “Saved by the Bell: The College Years,” “Good Morning, Miss Bell” 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.
As the Associated Press noted in a 2014 profile, Diamond played "Screech" for a decade but then took on other projects -- including a combative appearance on the reality show "Celebrity Fit Club," in an effort to break away from his Bayside High School persona.
He later executive produced Lifetime TV's “The Unauthorized Saved by the Bell Story” and took part in the off-Broadway parody “Bayside! The Musical!" He played himself.
Diamond also has dealt with legal issues. He was sentenced to four months in jail in 2015 for his part in a Wisconsin barroom stabbing. He has also been sued several times for delinquent taxes and in foreclosure proceedings for missing mortgage payments.
“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.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.