Entertainment

Dustin Diamond aka ‘Screech’ from ‘Saved By the Bell’ Dies at 44; Mario Lopez and Former Cast Members Grieve

Photo via elizberkley/Instagram

Today, former “Saved By the Bell” cast members are grieving the lost of someone who once was an integral member of their team.

On Monday, Dustin Diamond, well known for playing the loveable, zany character Screech on “Saved by the Bell” passed away from carcinoma at the age of 44.

Mario Lopez, Mark-Paul Gosselaar, Tiffani Thiessen, and Elizabeth Berkley all publicly eulogized Dustin Diamond on social media.

It was just a few weeks ago that Diamond’s diagnosis was revealed to the public. His rep released the following statement:

“We are saddened to confirm of Dustin Diamond’s passing on Monday, February 1st, 2021 due to carcinoma. 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;

His rep went on to say that Diamond’s death was quick and that he “did not suffer”.

As soon as the news of his death was announced, Diamond’s former “Saved By the Bell” co-star, Mario Lopez, took to Twitter to pay his condolences to Diamond’s family.

Lopez posted a picture of himself beside Diamond, along with the heartfelt note: “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…”

Later, Lopez spoke with Variety about how he was still struggling to “process” Diamond’s death.

“I actually just spoke with him a couple of weeks ago. He was reluctant to go in [to the hospital] for a while because he didn’t know if anything was going to get out,” Lopez revealed. “And I said, ‘Bro, that’s foolish, you’ve got to get in there and take care of yourself and forget what people are saying.’ Some people thought his illness was a joke, which is awful, but the internet always spills tales.

Lopez also revealed that he himself was sure that Diamond was going to pull through. “When all of this was happening, I was optimistic that he would make a recovery, but it was obviously too late,” he said.

Dustin Diamond and Mario Lopez may have had a somewhat complicated relationship, but they remained in touch years after the show ended.

In Mario Lopez’s 2014 book “Just Between Us,” he confirmed the long-standing rumors that Diamond wasn’t exactly beloved by the rest of the cast. “Not everyone got along with Screech AKA Dustin Diamond. I did, but maybe I was the exception,” he wrote.

“From when I found out he was sick to his passing, it’s been incredibly quick. It’s so fresh, it’s incredibly hard to process,” he revealed. “And it’s shocking because he was so young; he was only 44. I honestly thought, ‘There’s no way [he won’t make it]. It sucks, but he’ll bounce back.’”

And indeed, controversy followed Diamond long after he graduated from Bay City High.

Diamond consistently made headlines due to everything from reality show fights, to sex tapes, to bar-room brawls.

In 2016, Diamond sat down for an interview with Mario Lopez on Extra, explaining that he wanted to start a new chapter in his life.

“I want to put the tom foolery and malarkey behind me, you know? It’s time for that clean slate. Time for the change.”

Diamond’s rep is asking that his family is given the time and privacy necessary to grieve their loss.

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