Dustin Diamond, best known for playing Screech on the hit ’90s sitcom "Saved by the Bell," has died at 44 from stage four lung cancer.
Roger Paul, the actor's spokesman, told NBC News he died Monday morning of carcinoma after a 3-week battle with the disease.
"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 said.
“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.
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,” wrote Paul.