Saved by the Bell stars remember Dustin Diamond after his death from lung cancer
Diamond was admitted to a Florida hospital in early January with doctors confirming he was undergoing chemotherapy for stage 4 cancer. A rep for Diamond told EW the cancer "spread rapidly throughout his system" and he died just three weeks after being admitted to the hospital. After news of his death broke, his former Saved by the Bell costars paid tribute to the actor who played nerdy sidekick Samuel "Screech" Powers on the NBC sitcom.
"I'm deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Dustin Diamond, a true comedic genius," Mark-Paul Gosselaar, who costarred opposite Diamond on the comedy series tells EW in a statement. "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."
The duo worked on Saved by the Bell and its antecedent Good Morning, Miss Bliss, following the lives of Bayside High School students. Diamond and Gosselaar's castmates also included Mario Lopez, Tiffani Thiessen, Elizabeth Berkley Lauren, and Lark Voorhies.
Voorhies, who portrayed Lisa Turtle, the fashionista who was the object of Screech's affections on the show, also shared a tribute to Diamond with EW: "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," she writes. "I am so very sorry he is gone. But it's exceptionally sad for his close loved ones who have do deal with his tragic death and their own great loss. My heart goes out to them at this trying time."
Thiessen, Lopez, and Berkley Lauren paid tribute to their late costar via Instagram.
"I am deeply saddened by the news of my old co-star @realdustindiamond passing," Thiessen wrote. "Life is extremely fragile and it's something we should never take for granted. God speed Dustin."
"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," Lopez shared.
"I'm grateful to have gotten to create with Dustin when we were at the beginning of our dreams coming true," Berkley Lauren wrote. "I will hold onto those sweet memories and the laughs we shared. Rest In Peace."
Tori Spelling, who played Screech's love interest Violet on early seasons of Saved by the Bell, paid tribute to the actor she called her "first on-screen love." Before starring on Beverly Hills, 90210, where she famously locked lips with Brian Austin Green's David Silver, she shared her first on-screen kiss with Diamond.
"Before there was David and Donna there was Screech and Violet," she wrote on Instagram. "Dustin was my first on-screen kiss. 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"
Diamond was the only member of the original six young actors from Saved by the Bell not to reprise his role in the Peacock revival of the same name, which was recently renewed for a second season. However, the show did explain Screech's absence by saying the lovable nerd and his robot Kevin are now living on the International Space Station. Prior to his death, the actor's reps said Diamond had been in talks to reprise his role if the show was picked up for season 2.