Dustin Diamond: Saved by the Bell star dies aged 44

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Image caption,
Dustin Diamond made his name as the studious "Screech" in the US sitcom Saved by the Bell

Saved by the Bell actor Dustin Diamond has died from cancer, his representative has said.

The 44-year-old was best known for playing Samuel "Screech" Powers in the popular 1990s US sitcom about a group of high school friends and their headmaster.

He had recently completed a first round of chemotherapy after being diagnosed with lung cancer last month.

His condition had deteriorated fast in the last week, said agent Roger Paul.

"Dustin did not suffer. He did not have to lie submerged in pain. For that, we are grateful," he said on Monday.

Saved by the Bell ran for four seasons from 1989 to 1993 and was a global hit series.

On-screen love

Co-stars have been paying tribute.

Mario Lopez, known to fans of the show as AC Slater, said: "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."

Tori Spelling, who starred in a few episodes alongside Diamond, described him as being "an icon to me, personally and professionally" as she reminisced about him being her first on-screen love.

Mark-Paul Gosselaar, who played Zack Morris, tweeted that Diamond was "a true comedic genius" and Saved by the Bell star Dustin Diamond dies at 44said he "will miss those raw, brilliant sparks that only he was able to produce".

Tiffani Thiessen , who played Kelly Kapowski, posted that she was "deeply saddened" by the news.

"Life is extremely fragile and it's something we should never take for granted. God speed Dustin," she wrote.

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Image caption,
The cast of Saved by the Bell in 1993

Lark Voorhies, who played Lisa Turtle in the show, said in a statement given to Entertainment Weekly: "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 to deal with his tragic death and their own great loss. My heart goes out to them at this trying time."

Elizabeth Berkley Lauren, who appeared in the show as Jessie Spanno, wrote that Dustin "was a truly gifted talent".

Diamond reprised his role in follow-up series Saved by the Bell: The New Class, and Saved by the Bell: The College Years. But he did not appear in the recent revival series.

The American was also a contestant on Celebrity Big Brother in 2013.

Diamond served three months in jail after he stabbed a man during an altercation at a bar in Wisconsin in 2014.

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