The Tragic Death Of Dustin Diamond

Actor Dustin Diamond, who is best known for his portrayal of Samuel "Screech" Powers on Saved by the Bell, has died, according to the Associated Press. As Us Weekly reported, the star was 44 years old at the time of his Feb. 1, 2021, death, having first been diagnosed with "stage IV small cell carcinoma," or lung cancer, three weeks earlier. 

Celebrities and fans of the beloved '90s sitcom star have been quick to share tributes, including Diamond's spokesman, Roger Paul. "We are saddened to confirm of Dustin Diamond's passing on Monday, February 1st, 2021 due to carcinoma," the statement read, per People. "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 ... Dustin did not suffer. He did not have to lie submerged in pain. For that, we are grateful." The statement continued, "Dustin Diamond's name was synonymous with Screech ... [he] was a humorous and high-spirited individual whose greatest passion was to make others laugh." 

Diamond — who returned to Bayside High for multiple spin-offs, including Saved by the Bell: The College Years and Saved by the Bell: The New Class — will also be remembered for his roles in the reality shows Celebrity Fit Club and Celebrity Big Brother. And given the actor's long list of credits, some fans want more information about his death — we share additional details below.

Dustin Diamond's death was 'sudden,' per his rep

So what else should fans know about Dustin Diamond's death? The former child actor was first hospitalized in January 2021 in Florida, with his team having "first revealed his diagnosis" on Jan. 14, 2021, per Us Weekly. A source told that outlet, "He's getting through his treatments now. ... It's such an emotional time. Those close to him try calling him every day to try to cheer him up. He has a handful of people who are in his close circle — his girlfriend being one of them." Representative Roger Paul told NBC News that the star had begun chemotherapy, and "a second round" of the treatment was "being scheduled." 

Dustin Diamond did not reprise his role in the 2020 Saved by the Bell reboot, per TODAY. According to NBC News, the star's 2009 book, Behind the Bell, "portrayed the cast in a less-than-flattering light." Additionally, the star had "filed for bankruptcy" in 2001 and served jail time in 2014. Paul addressed his client's ups and downs in the statement, noting, "Dustin Diamond was a character in and of himself: an unpredictable spitfire who always left us shocked, but never left us bored."

Of course, this is a difficult time for those who knew and loved Diamond. "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," the statement concluded. "This loss is as much stinging as it is sudden." 

Inside Dustin Diamond's final wishes

What else should fans know about Dustin Diamond's final days? An avid music-lover and bass player, the Saved by the Bell star's hoped to meet the bassist from his favorite band, the metal group Tool. He also wanted to visit Disney World. "There are two things Dustin asked for....the ability to talk to Justin Chancellor about music and to be able to visit Disney World to see Star Wars Galaxy Edge," friend Dan Block told The Sun. "Dustin was learning to play several Tool songs and wanted to start a Tool tribute band. ... He would play the song and play along with his bass while watching YouTube videos."

Diamond's friend also told the outlet before his death, "We do not have any specific timelines, but we know that Dustin needs a miracle to overcome the small cell carcinoma he's been diagnosed with." Sadly, that miracle didn't come.

Dustin Diamond was ready for a 'clean slate'

Dustin Diamond may have enjoyed success playing the beloved nerd Samuel "Screech" Powers, but things weren't always great as they appeared. The late star, who appeared in the Saved by the Bell franchise for 13 years, was "barely a pre-teen" when cast, per The Washington Post. "The hardest thing about being a child star is giving up your childhood," Diamond stated during a 2013 episode of Oprah Winfrey's Where Are They Now. "You're a professional and you got to know your lines and rehearse and practice."

It was "nearly impossible to find work" post-Saved by the Bell, leading Diamond to "difficult times," Rolling Stone reported. The actor appeared in multiple reality shows, faced legal troubles, and wrote a tell-all book slamming his castmates, which he later said was ghost-written. "I didn't know what to do [when the show ended]," he said during the Where Are They Now special. "It was hard to get work that wasn't Screech-clone stuff." In 2016, Dustin Diamond told co-star Mario Lopez on ExtraTV that he was ready for a fresh start. "I want to put the tomfoolery and malarkey behind me ... for that clean slate. Time for a change."

"He's had a history of mishaps, of unfortunate events," Dustin Diamond's rep acknowledge in a statement to NBC News. "We want the public to understand that he was not intentionally malevolent. He ... had undergone a great deal of turmoil and heartache."