Hollywood and fans around the world are mourning the loss of a beloved TV figure.
The longtime Saved by the Bell star's passing comes less than a month after he was hospitalized following mystery pain. The star was subsequently diagnosed with stage four cancer and began chemotherapy.
"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," his rep said in a statement. "Dustin did not suffer. He did not have to lie submerged in pain. For that, we are grateful."
Viewers became very familiar with Diamond over the course of Good Morning, Miss Bliss, four seasons of Saved by the Bell, as well as seven seasons of the spin-off, Saved by the Bell: The New Class and two TV movies. He last appeared in the short film, Catching Up, released in February 2020. In recent years, he made headlines for run-ins with the law and served jail time in 2016.
"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 rep 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. 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. Dustin Diamond was a character in and of himself: an unpredictable spitfire who always left us shocked, but never left us bored."
In the wake of his untimely death, there's been an outpouring of tributes on social media from his famous colleagues, fans and fellow stars. Read some of the touching posts below:
Mark-Paul Gosselaar: "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."
Mario Lopez: "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..."
Tiffani Thiessen: "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."
The Wendy Williams Show: "Our hearts go out to the family, friends and fans of actor #DustinDiamond who passed away today at the age of 44 after a short battle with cancer."
Loni Love: "Dustin Diamond you really were a diamond who gave the world one of the most lovable tv characters .. thank you for making my childhood a little more funnier.. rest now. Condolences to his family."
Tori Spelling: "My 1st onscreen love Dustin Diamond got his Angel wings today...Before there was David and Donna there was Screech and Violet. 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."
Lark Voorhies: "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.
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."