Dustin Diamond Dead at 44: Look Back at the Saved By the Bell Star's Life in Pictures

On Feb. 1, Dustin Diamond passed away at the age of 44 after a battle with cancer. Remember the Saved by the Bell star's career and personal life by looking back at these photos.

By Elyse Dupre Feb 01, 2021 9:55 PMTags
Watch: Dustin Diamond Dead at 44 After Battle With Lung Cancer

Dustin Diamond died on Monday, Feb. 1. following a brief battle with lung cancer. He was 44 years old.

The actor's passing comes less than three weeks after news of the cancer diagnosis broke. 

"In that time, it managed to spread rapidly through his system; the only mercy was its sharp and swift execution," his rep told E! News in a statement. "Dustin did not suffer. He did not have to lie submerged in pain. For that, we are grateful." 

The spokesperson described Diamond as 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," the statement continued. "We wish you knew him in the way that we did.  We please ask that you give room for privacy to our team and Mr. Diamond's family during this tragic time, as we grieve and remember the memories spent together. This loss is as much stinging as it is sudden."

For over a decade, Diamond played Samuel "Screech" Powers on Saved By the Bell and its related series. However, he remained in the public eye after the shows ended.

Several of Diamond's co-stars paid tribute on social media after learning of his passing.

Celebrity Deaths: 2021's Fallen Stars

Look back at his life in pictures.

Finding Fame at a Young Age

Diamond was born January 7, 1977. He entered the spotlight at an early age. In fact, he was just 10 years old when Good Morning, Miss Bliss—in which he first played Screech—premiered.

"The hardest thing about being a child star is giving up your childhood," he said in a 2013 episode of OWN's Where Are They Now?. "You don't get a childhood really. I mean, you're a professional. You've got to know your lines, and rehearse and practice. You know, it was making sure that you were the funniest and the best that you could be because if you weren't funny you could be replaced."

Playing Samuel “Screech” Powers

From 1987 to 2000, Diamond portrayed the character on Good Morning, Miss Bell; Saved By the Bell, Saved By the Bell: The College Years and Saved By the Bell: The New Class. He was in his early 20s when the series ended.

Making Cameos

Over the next few years, Diamond made appearances in a number of movies, including Made (2001), Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star (2003) and American Pie: Presents: The Book of Love (2009).

Starring on Reality TV

He also took part in a number of reality TV series, including The Weakest Link (2001), Celebrity Boxing 2 (2002), Hollywood Squares (2003) Celebrity Fit Club (2007-2008) and Celebrity Big Brother (2013).

Making Headlines

In 2006, Diamond released a sex tape, which he described on Where Are They Now? as the thing he was "most embarrassed about."

"Looking back now, in my 30's, I realize that was really dumb," he said on the OWN series. "I definitely got some money off of it, but it wasn't worth what the fallout was." 

In 2009, he also released the book Behind the Bell, which he considered "another disappointment."

"I was a first-time author, so they had a ghostwriter," he told the docuseries. "I talked to a guy a few times, so the book has some truth in it, and a lot of the stories were just kind of throwaways." 

Serving Time

Just a few years later in 2016, Diamond made headlines again. According to Reuters, the actor was sentenced to four months in jail after being convicted of carrying a concealed weapon and disorderly conduct in an incident in which he was accused of stabbing someone at a Wisconsin bar. He was released after three months.

"When I had my pocketknife like this and the blade was right here, and the guy came from around me and grabbed my throat and so he nicked his arm on the tip of it," he told Mario Lopez on Extra in 2016. "It was a Band-Aid—the most expensive Band-Aid I've ever bought." 

Diamond's rep reflected on his "history of mishaps" and "unfortunate" events in the statement to E! News.

"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 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."

Battling Cancer

On Jan. 14, 2020 Diamond's team announced his cancer diagnosis. "At this time we can confirm that Dustin does have cancer," a statement posted to Facebook read. "Dustin will disclose more information once it is available and a plan moving forward is made." Later that month, his reps confirmed he had started chemotherapy. He passed away a few weeks later. 

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