The 44-year-old actor, who played Screech on “Saved by the Bell,” died after a three-week fight with cancer, his agent Roger Paul confirmed to NewsNation Monday. He was undergoing chemotherapy earlier this year.
“Deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Dustin Diamond, a true comedic genius,” wrote Mark-Paul Gosselaar, who starred as Zack Morris on “Saved by the Bell.” “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, who played A.C. Slater on the series, said Diamond “will be missed.”
“The fragility of life is something never to be taken for granted,” he wrote.
Tiffani Thiessen, who played Kelly Kapowski on the series, also took to Twitter to express her condolences. She echoed Lopez in pointing out the “extremely fragile” nature of life.
According to Page Six, Diamond recently said his dying wish was “meet his idol Justin Chancellor, the British bassist from heavy metal band Tool,” and to visit Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge at Walt Disney World in Florida.
“Saved by the Bell” 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, Lopez, Thiessen and Gosselaar. Diamond was not included.
He 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.”
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,” said his manager Roger Paul.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.