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'Saved by the Bell' star Dustin Diamond dies after battle with cancer

Dustin Diamond, known for playing Samuel "Screech" Powers in the original Saved by the Bell series, died on Monday, February 1 after battling cancer. He was 44 years old.

Dustin's representative confirmed the news in a statement posted on the actor's social media accounts.

"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; 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."

In an earlier version of the statement, his representative said they were "aware that Dustin is not considered reputable by most" but said "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," they said. Parts of the original statement have since been edited from the Facebook post, although its edit history is public.

The message ended by asking for privacy for Dustin's family and the team as they mourn his death.

Some of his past Saved By The Bell co-stars such as Mario Lopez, Mark-Paul Gosselaar, Tiffany Amber Thiessen, and Elizabeth Berkley paid tribute to him.

"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," Mario wrote, posting photos of them together on his Instagram account.

Tiffany, who played Kelly in the show, wrote: "I am deeply saddened by the news of my old co-star @realdustindiamond passing. Life is extremely fragile and it’s something we should never take for granted. God speed Dustin."

Elizabeth, who played Jessie on the show, wrote: "I’m grateful to have gotten to create with Dustin when we were at the beginning of our dreams coming true. I will hold onto those sweet memories and the laughs we shared. Rest In Peace."

In a statement to People, Mark-Paul said of his co-star: "I'm deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Dustin Diamond, a true comedic genius. 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."

In January, Dustin's representative confirmed that the actor had cancer and was undergoing chemotherapy.

Dustin also starred in a number of reality shows such as the 5th season of Celebrity Fit Club, The Weakest Link, Celebrity Big Brother, and Celebrity Boxing 2. He also appeared in films such as Former Child Star and American Pie Presents: The Book of Love. – Rappler.com