Details We Know About Dustin Diamond's Death

Saved by the Bell star Dustin Diamond, 44, died Monday morning due to carcinoma, according to TODAY. His spokesperson's announcement follows news posted last week on Diamond's Facebook page that the actor had been diagnosed with late-stage lung cancer.

"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," reads the statement released by his spokesperson, Roger Paul. "Dustin did not suffer. He did not have to lie submerged in pain. For that, we are grateful."

Known for his role as Samuel "Screech" Powers on the popular teen '90s Saturday morning NBC comedy, Diamond was hospitalized in mid-January "after feeling pain all over his body and a general sense of unease," TMZ reports.

Paul told TODAY the actor's condition "had greatly declined since last week, and he was taken off of breathing machines in an attempt to get him to hospice care." He said Diamond wasn't alone when he took his last breaths, adding, "There were two people very close to him by his side when he passed away."

Dustin Diamond's death surprised everyone

Dustin Diamond grew up alongside many viewers as he played the nerdy-but-lovable Screech for 13 seasons. The announcement last week that the actor had stage 4 lung cancer took everyone by surprise, including his fans who took to Twitter to express their condolences. One fan tweeted, "Feel like a bit of my childhood has just died. RIP Screech."

According to Cancer Treatment Centers of America, carcinoma is the most common cancer, and it can occur in many parts of the body. It begins in the skin and spreads to the tissue that lines internal organs. According to TMZ, Diamond reportedly completed his first round of chemo after being diagnosed, but that the cancer started at an unknown location and metastasized in his lungs.

Diamond's Facebook page had been keeping fans updated with the star's progress, posting on Jan. 22, "The stage 4 small cell carcinoma diagnosis is definitely not what we were hoping for. However Dustin is being treated and fighting this. Those of us close to him will make sure he receives the messages of love and support. Will bring letters to him. Thank you so much for all the love."

Dustin Diamond received many messages of love after his illness was announced

The grief many are feeling at Diamond's loss is due, partially, to how quickly his illness progressed and how shocking his loss feels. The fact that he was living with cancer only became public on January 14, when an official announcement was posted to his Facebook page, reading, "At this time we can confirm that Dustin does have cancer. Dustin will disclose more information once it is available and a plan moving forward is made." An address for well-wishes was also provided in the event that fans wanted to send a card or other get-well gifts to the actor via his team.

Immediately upon hearing the news, Diamond's Saved By The Bell costar Mario Lopez was quick to post his well wishes, saying on his own social media, "I connected with Dustin earlier this evening and although the news of his diagnosis is heartbreaking, we remain positive that he'll overcome this ... Praying for him & his family and for a speedy recovery. God Bless." Along with this supportive message, Lopez posted two photos of himself with Diamond: one that was taken recently, and another from a day on set back in the 1990s. 

Friends and fans were both shocked by the news

Upon learning that his friend had died, Mario Lopez expressed his shock at how quickly it had all progressed, "From when I found out he was sick to his passing, it's been incredibly quick. It's so fresh, it's incredibly hard to process. And it's shocking because he was so young; he was only 44. I honestly thought, 'There's no way [he won't make it]. It sucks, but he'll bounce back" (via Variety). 

Lopez thought back to a conversation he had with Diamond just a few weeks ago, when Diamond had expressed trepidation about going into the hospital because he hadn't wanted the news of his illness to get out, to which Lopez had told him, "I said, 'Bro, that's foolish, you've got to get in there and take care of yourself and forget what people are saying.' Some people thought his illness was a joke, which is awful, but the internet always spills tales. When all of this was happening, I was optimistic that he would make a recovery, but it was obviously too late."

Fans also expressed their shock on social media, responding to the news of Diamond's death with tweets like, "Such a sad loss. I can't believe we lost Dustin Diamond. He was a great guy. Dustin was smart, funny and kind ... Dustin was a comedic genius. He always made me laugh. I will miss him..."