Dustin Diamond, best known for his role as Samuel "Screech" Powers in the NBC sitcom Saved by the Bell, has died at age 44 following a battle with lung cancer.
TMZ reports Diamond died on Monday, Feb. 1 after his condition deteriorated following his hospitalization earlier last month. He later revealed he was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer and had been undergoing chemotherapy. He was hospitalized at the start of January after he complained of general pain throughout his body.
Diamond portrayed Screech across various Saved by the Bell episodes for a total of 13 seasons. Following the four seasons of the original show, he later reprised the role in Saved by the Bell: The College Years, and finally Saved by the Bell: The News Class. He also showed up in both of the films based on the series, Hawaiian Style and Wedding in Las Vegas. For undisclosed reasons, he wasn't cast in the recently released Saved by the Bell reboot on Peacock.
Dustin Diamond's output slowed considerably post-2000, and he only had a small number of acting roles in the past decade.
"I'm proud of the work that I've done when I've done it. It's just, how to you come off such a phenom role of this Screech character and break out of that mold and do something different?" Diamond told his former co-star Mario Lopez in a 2016 interview. "I'd audition, and every single time they'd say, 'Hey, we loved it, but we saw too much Screech in it.' Well, I can't change my bone structure, what do you want me to do?"