Dustin Diamond, best known for his role as Screech in the hit sitcom “Saved by the Bell,” died on Monday morning following a hospitalization in January. The actor, who had Stage 4 lung cancer, was 44.
Following news of the actor’s death, co-stars and other prominent entertainment figures flooded social media with tributes, reflecting on how Diamond’s character in “Saved by the Bell” brought them joy in their adolescence and that they “grew up” with the show. “Screech” trended on Twitter, along with the news of Diamond’s death.
Diamond’s “Saved by the Bell” co-star Mark-Paul Gosselaar called the actor “a true comedic genius.”
“Deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Dustin Diamond, a true comedic genius,” he tweeted. “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, another “Saved by the Bell” co-star, shared photos of him with the actor, writing, “Dustin, you will be missed my man. The fragility of this life is something never to be taken for granted. Prayers for your family will continue on…”
A post shared by Mario Lopez (@mariolopez)
Following his time on “Saved by the Bell,” Diamond was arrested in 2014 for stabbing a man during a bar altercation. He served three months in prison in 2015.
“We are aware that Dustin is not considered reputable by most. He’s had a history of mishaps, of unfortunate events. We want the public to understand that he was not intentionally malevolent,” his agent, Roger Paul, said in a statement. “He — much like the rest of those who act out and behave poorly — had undergone a great deal of turmoil and heartache. His actions, though rebukeable, stemmed from loss and the lack of knowledge on how to process that pain properly. In actuality, 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.”
Screenwriter Brian Lynch alluded to Diamond’s criminal history, writing that he wished he could have had “a second act where he turned everything around.”
Cyrus Bolooki, drummer of rock band New Found Glory, said he will miss Diamond’s “random texts/videos of the most hilarious jokes” and lamented that he and the actor never played together. “Hope you get to keep playing music up in Heaven,” he wrote.
See more tributes below:
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