Dustin Diamond is leaving behind a legacy after playing the lovable Samuel “Screech” Powers on Saved by the Bell. Some of his grief-stricken costars are sharing nostalgic tributes following news of his death on February 1, 2021.
Mark-Paul Gosselaar and Mario Lopez were among the first in the franchise to post emotional messages remembering the late stand-up comedian, who died at the age of 44 after being diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer.
“It’s a sad, sad day,” the show’s executive producer, Peter Engel, told Us Weekly in the wake of Diamond’s passing. “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.”
Diamond, who is survived by his estranged wife, Jennifer Misner, lost his battle with the disease just weeks after he was hospitalized in Florida.
“He was diagnosed with this brutal, relentless form of malignant cancer,” the star’s rep Roger Paul told In Touch in a statement while confirming the news of his death from carcinoma. “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.”
The Wonder Years alum’s rep went on to praise Diamond for being a “humorous” and “high-spirited individual” who always had the desire to make other people laugh.
“Diamond was a character in and of himself: an unpredictable spitfire who always left us shocked, but never left us bored,” Paul continued. “We are thankful he trusted us enough to share his genuine, authentic self with our team. We wish you knew him in the way that we did. 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. This loss is as much stinging as it is sudden.”
Scroll through the gallery below to see tributes from the Saved by the Bell cast.
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