Dustin Diamond Dead At 44 After Cancer Battle

Dustin Diamond is dead at the age of 44, after battling stage 4 cancer. The Saved By The Bell star's death comes as a tragic shock within two weeks of the initial announcement that he'd been hospitalized from complications suspect to be caused by cancer. Days after news of the hospitalization, Diamond's team confirmed that indeed he had cancer; about a week later it was reported that he had stage IV small-cell Carcinoma. Even though Diamond was in for a serious fight, he was reportedly "looking forward to spending more time with his girlfriend, playing his bass guitar and video games, as well as making videos for his fans on social media."

Most fans will fondly remember Dustin Diamond as the lovable geek Samuel "Screech" Powers in the Saved By The Bell Franchise. He started with the series when it was still Good Morning, Miss Bliss in 1988, and stayed in the Screech role for nearly thirteen years until Saved by the Bell: The New Class ended in 2000.

Unfortunately, like a lot of childhood stars, Diamond also struggled with sobriety and personal troubles after Saved by the Bell. He filed for bankruptcy soon after the show was over, resorting to selling knock-off "Screeech" merchandise direct to fans to pay bills. Diamond kept relevant onscreen by doing reality shows and movie cameos in the 2000s, often playing on his Screech persona and/or tabloid infamy in event series like Celebrity Boxing.

Diamond definitely caused a stir for producing and releasing his own sex tape in 2006, and later writing a scandalous tell-all about making Saved by the Bell, titled, Behind the Bell, which was released in 2009. That memoir remains heavily disputed by Diamond's former co-stars and colleagues, to this day. The late 2000s and 2010s saw Diamond go through the turbulent ups and downs of marriage, divorce, and multiple arrests for weapons possessions and disorderly conduct. He served several months in prison in the mid-2000s, as a result of such charges.

Dustin Diamond Dead at 44 Stage 4 Cancer

Dustin Diamond had been more visible lately than he had in a while, thanks to the Saved By The Bell reboot that was released on Peacock. Diamond was one of the few cast members not making a return for the new series, something he spoke at length about with TMZ:

"See I was one of the people in every episode. I was literally in every episode. Out of all of the cast members, I was in the most. And that's not the case anymore. I'm not in the new one. And how do you have 'Saved By The Bell' without Screech?" Diamond said. "It seems like there a missed opportunity. It's kind of -- what's the old saying about cutting off the finger to spite the hand? Or cutting off the nose to spite the face? Something like that. Ten years in high school, I should know this [laughs] I should have studied it thoroughly.

For all the cast members to say... I think everyone should all be thinking the same thing (as far as I'm concerned), everyone should be thinking: 'We should all be a part of this. You can't have 'Saved By The Bell' without Zack; You can't have 'Saved By The Bell' without Screech; You can't have 'Saved By The Bell' without Kelly; You can't have 'Saved By The Bell' without Slater; You have to have all the cast members, you know?... If it's a reboot, bring back all the original staples."

Even though he was kind of sad not to be back Bayside High, Diamond had hope for the future, going so far as to envision what his new take on Screech would be:

"I think that right now Screech would be dealing with parenthood and dealing with his kids and finding out he's got a little Screech of his own now. And that maybe he wasn't a barrel full of roses to deal with growing up, and realizing 'Was I ever this difficult?'

R.I.P. Dustin Diamond, We offer condolences to his family, friends, and colleagues in their time of grief.

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Reported by TMZ