Gone too soon. Dustin Diamond died at the age of 44 on February 1, 2021, after battling stage IV small-cell carcinoma for less than a month.
The Saved by the Bell alum was diagnosed with cancer three weeks prior, with his rep, Roger Paul, telling Us Weekly it was a “brutal, relentless form of malignant cancer” that spread “rapidly” through 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,” Paul confirmed to Us after his passing. “Dustin Diamond was a character in and of himself: an unpredictable spitfire who always left us shocked, but never left us bored. We are thankful he trusted us enough to share his genuine, authentic self with our team. We wish you knew him in the way that we did.”
News of Diamond’s death came shortly after a source exclusively told Us in January that he had been in the hospital for “a while” in order to get cancer treatments. “It’s tough, it’s very hard,” the insider said. “He’s going through a lot of pain, but he still keep his spirits up.”
The Saved by the Bell: The College Years alum received support from many of his former costars after announcing his cancer diagnosis, despite having a fallout with some after the release of his tell-all book, Behind the Bell, and his many ups and downs with the law.
“He received all the well-wishes from his Saved by the Bell costars, and he’s been really happy hearing that stuff,” a source exclusively told Us last month. “It’s been nice that people have been reaching out.”
Diamond’s former NBC castmates shared kind words about the late actor shortly after news broke of his death.
“I’m deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Dustin Diamond, a true comedic genius,” Mark-Paul Gosselaar, who played Zach Morris, said in a statement to Us on February 1. “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.”
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Scroll down to see Diamond’s life in pictures, including his ups and downs over the years.