The actor who played Screech in Saved by the Bell has died at 44

Dustin Diamond in 2015 (Photo: Jeffrey Phelps/Getty Images)

Saved By The Bell actor Dustin Diamond has died aged 44 three weeks after being diagnosed with cancer, his representative said.

Diamond, who played Samuel “Screech” Powers on the popular comedy, was taken to hospital in Florida last month after feeling pain all over his body and “a general sense of unease”.

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What is a carcinoma?

His death was announced on Monday (1 February) by Roger Paul, his representative, who said the cause of death was carcinoma.

Carcinoma is a malignancy that develops in tissue that lines the inner or outer surfaces of the body, and occurs when the DNA of a cell is damaged or altered and the cell begins to grow uncontrollably and become malignant.

Paul said: “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 lie submerged in pain. For that, we are grateful.”

Paul described Diamond as “a character in and of himself: an unpredictable spitfire who always left us shocked, but never left us bored”.

He added: “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.”

In January, it was reported by US tabloid TMZ that Diamond was battling Stage 4 cancer, which had spread throughout his body.

Diamond discovered a lump in his throat which led to the diagnosis; the actor’s family has a history of cancer, and Diamond’s mother died of breast cancer. He was also said to be experiencing pain from having shingles.

Who was Dustin Diamond?

Diamond posing for a portrait during the 2007 Sundance Film Festival (Photo: Mark Mainz/Getty Images)

Diamond – born in San Jose, California in 1977 – was best known for playing nerdy sidekick “Screech” in four seasons of Saved By The Bell, the cult teen sitcom that ran between 1989 and 1993.

He reprised the role in follow-up series Saved by the Bell: The New Class and Saved by the Bell: The College Years, but wasn't recast for the reboot of the show in 2020.

Following his role on Saved by the Bell, Diamond began doing stand up comedy, featured on game and reality shows and made several cameo appearances in films.

A big fan of professional wrestling, Diamond appeared as a contestant on Hulk Hogan's Celebrity Championship Wrestling, and was involved with WWE developmental territory Memphis Championship Wrestling as a referee, manager and even a tag team partner.

Diamond encountered financial trouble during his career and filed for bankruptcy in 2001. He later launched an elaborate crowdfunding bid to save his house, selling T-shirts with his face on to raise 250,000 dollars (£182,000).

The back of the T-shirts read “I paid 15.00 dollars to save Screeech’s house”. The extra ‘e’ was reportedly added to avoid breaching copyright laws.

In 2006, Diamond directed and released a sex tape, titled ‘Screeched – Saved by the Smell’. He later stated in an interview that he did not actually appear in the film. Instead, a “stunt double” was used, with Diamond’s likeness added onto them.

He was a contestant on the 12th series of Celebrity Big Brother in 2013, and was “evicted” from the house on day 16.

A version of this article originally appeared on our sister title, The Scotsman