Thursday, February 25

Mark-Paul Gosselaar, Mario Lopez and More Mourn Dustin Diamond

Saying goodbye. Dustin Diamond, best known for playing Samuel “Screech” Powers on Saved by the Bell, died on Monday, February 1, after a battle with stage IV lung cancer. The actor was 44.

“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,” his publicist confirmed to Us Weekly. “Dustin did not suffer. He did not have to lie submerged in pain. For that, we are grateful.”

The California native first revealed his cancer diagnosis in January after being hospitalized in Florida.

On January 22, his team shared a new statement on his Facebook page. “The stage 4 small cell carcinoma diagnosis is definitely not what we were hoping for. However Dustin is being treated and fighting this,” the reps wrote. “Those of us close to him will make sure he receives the messages of love and support. Will bring letters to him. Thank you so much for all the love.”

The publicist also shared an emotional tribute to Diamond on Monday.

“We’ve been working alongside Dustin over the last 21 years. It goes without saying that our relationship cannot be categorized exclusively as a business. He has become a larger part of our everyday life: A part of our family and friend circle,” the rep told Us. “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. 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.”

His team added that he was an “unpredictable spitfire who always left us shocked, but never left us bored.”

Scroll through the gallery below to see how stars reacted.

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Mark-Paul Gosselaar

“I’m deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Dustin Diamond, a true comedic genius. My sincere condolences to his family and friends,” Gosselaar, who played Zach Morris, said in a statement to Us. “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.”


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Mario Lopez

“Dustin, you will be missed my man,” Lopez, who played A.C. Slater in Saved by the Bell, wrote via Instagram. “The fragility of this life is something never to be taken for granted. Prayers for your family will continue on.”

Rob Latour/Shutterstock

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Tiffani Thiessen

“I am deeply saddened by the news of my old co-star @realdustindiamond passing,” Thiessen, who portrayed Kelly Kapowski, captioned a photo of Diamond via Instagram. “Life is extremely fragile and it’s something we should never take for granted. God speed Dustin.”

Phil Mccarten/Invision/AP/Shutterstock

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Lark Voorhies

“Words cannot express the grief that I am feeling right now. Dustin and I had a warm and special friendship, he was a caring gentleman, and my memories of him will always be cherished. I am so very sorry he is gone,” Voorhies, who portrayed Lisa Turtle in the sitcom, said in a statement on Monday. “But it’s exceptionally sad for his close loved ones who have to deal with his tragic death and their own great loss. My heart goes out to them at this trying time.”

Courtesy Lark Voorhies/Instagram

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Peter Engel

The Saved by the Bell executive producer exclusively shared with Us that he last spoke to Diamond in the early 2000s but will always remember him for being a “comedy genius” who consistently made him laugh. “It’s heartbreaking. It’s a sad, sad day,” Engel said. “People who know me from my producing and writing know that I hate to have anything changed until I see it. He’d say, ‘Pete, let me try it this way.’ And I would say, ‘Eh, well try it my way.’ Nine out of 10 times, we’d go with his way. Those who know me know that’s not my style. I almost ruined the Hawaii episodes. We’re shooting inside the hotel in Santa Monica and I kept ruining the scene because he would make me laugh so much. I ruined all the scenes in the Hawaii movie and Las Vegas movie. He had me laughing for 11 years and I’m laughing now remembering. It makes me feel better.”

Courtesy Peter Engel/Instagram

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Tracey Wigfield

The writer, who wrote the Peacock revival series, shared a photo of Diamond as Screech on her Instagram Story on Monday.

Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP/Shutterstock

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Tori Spelling

“Before there was David and Donna there was Screech and Violet. Dustin was my first onscreen kiss,” Spelling wrote via Instagram on Monday. “He welcomed me with open arms onto the set of Saved By the Bell. As one can imagine being the newbie on a hit show was overwhelming for a 14 year old girl. He not only showed me around but made sure I was always ok. Such a young gentleman. He was kind, smart, and always making everyone laugh. He was a great scene partner. He was a really good guy. I’m sad after the show we never had much contact aside from occasionally running into each other at events. I’m glad he’s out of pain. He’s an icon to me professionally and personally. RIP Samuel love, your Violet.”


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Bethenny Frankel

“Very sad news… he hasn’t had an easy road,” Frankel, who worked as a production assistant on Saved by the Bell, wrote via Instagram. “I wish for peace for him and for his family.”


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