Dustin Diamond, who was best known for playing Samuel "Screech" Powers on the hit show Saved by the Bell, died Monday, just weeks after being diagnosed with cancer. He was 44.
Representatives for Diamond confirmed his death in a statement to BuzzFeed News, saying he died from carcinoma. The actor was diagnosed just three weeks ago, they said.
"In that time, it managed to spread rapidly throughout his system; the only mercy it exhibited was its sharp and swift execution," his talent agency Roger Paul Inc. said. "Dustin did not suffer. He did not have to lie submerged in pain. For that, we are grateful."
Diamond portrayed Screech for 13 years, from the late 1980s through the '90s, beginning with the series Good Morning, Miss Bliss to the final spinoff Saved by the Bell: The New Class.
After the franchise ended, Diamond starred in several reality television series, including Celebrity Fit Club and The Weakest Link. He also made cameo appearances in films such as Big Fat Liar, Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star, and American Pie Presents: The Book of Love. He also performed stand-up comedy for several years.
"Dustin Diamond was a character in and of himself: an unpredictable spitfire who always left us shocked, but never left us bored," Diamond's talent agency said in the statement. "We are thankful he trusted us enough to share his genuine, authentic self with our team."
In 2014, Diamond was arrested and charged with stabbing a man in a bar fight in Wisconsin on Christmas Day. A jury later found him not guilty of one felony charge but guilty of two misdemeanor charges in the incident. He was sentenced to four months in jail and 15 months probation as a result.
In its statement, Roger Paul Inc. addressed what it described as "a history of mishaps" in Diamond's life, saying that the actor 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," their statement said. "His actions, though rebukeable, stemmed from loss and the lack of knowledge on how to process that pain properly."
In an interview for Oprah's Where Are They Now? in 2013, Diamond opened up about the pressure he faced as a child actor.
"The hardest thing about being a child star is giving up your childhood. You don't get a childhood, really," he said. "You're professional. You got to know your lines and rehearse and practice. 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."
Diamond's former Saved by the Bell costars paid tribute on social media.
His agency described him as "a humorous and high-spirited individual" who loved to make people laugh.
"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," the statement said. "This loss is as much stinging as it is sudden."