Mario Lopez & ‘Saved By The Bell’ Co-Stars Mourn Dustin Diamond After Dying Of Lung Cancer

Despite their rocky relationships, the cast of the ’90s hit ‘Saved By The Bell’ came together to pay homage to their co-star, Dustin Diamond, after the news of his passing.

He was best known for playing the lovable nerd Samuel “Screech” Powers on the hit NBC sitcom Saved by the Bell in the ’90s, but sadly, Dustin Diamond died at the age of 44 after a battle with stage 4 small cell carcinoma, also known as lung cancer. Shortly after the news broke, his fellow Saved By The Bell star, Mario Lopez, came forward with his dedication to Dustin, which you can see below. “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,” the actor wrote, along with a photo of the pair.

The news was confirmed by his reps during the afternoon of February 1st, with the team releasing 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; 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.”

His team acknowledged not only Dustin the actor, but also the man, and were frank about his past, but also his outlook for his future. “We are aware that Dustin is not considered reputable by most,” the statement read. “He’s had a history of mishaps, of unfortunate events. We want the public to understand that he was not intentionally malevolent. He–much like the rest of those who act out and behave poorly—had undergone a great deal of turmoil and heartache. His actions, though rebuked, 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. He was able to sense and feel other peoples’ emotions to such a length that he was able to feel them too—a strength and a flaw, all in one.”

Elizabeth Berkley, Lark Voorhies, Mario Lopez, Tiffani-Amber Thiessen, Dustin Diamond, and Mark-Paul Gosselaar of ‘Saved By The Bell’ [The Everett Collection].

Dustin’s former co-star, Mario Lopez, paying tribute to the late actor is particularly touching, given the difficult relationship the cast has had with the actor since the series ended. In 2016, Dustin reunited with co-star Mario for an interview on Extra, which Mario was hosting at the time. During the interview, Dustin tried to set the record straight about his 2009 memoir, Behind the Bell, which detailed allegations of hookups and drug use among his cast members.

“I can’t imagine what they think, and I’m hoping this will clear it up. It wasn’t me, I didn’t write this. I was just as shocked and appalled,” Dustin shared with Mario, referencing his ghostwriter who worked on the memoir. At the time of the interview, Dustin also observed that he hadn’t seen his co-stars since he was 16 years old. Four years after his sit-down with Mario, Dustin was the only original cast member of Saved By The Bell that did not join the NBC Peacock follow-up series.

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