Mario Lopez and Tori Spelling share tributes to ‘Saved By the Bell’ star Dustin Diamond: ‘A true comedic genius’

The comedy actor, who found fame as Samuel 'Screech' Powers in the hit teen TV show, is fondly remembered by his co-stars

Beta V.1.0 - Powered by automated translation

"Gentleman" has been the word most used to describe Saved By the Bell actor, Dustin Diamond, who died on Monday at the age of 44.

His death followed a three-week hospitalisation with stage-four lung cancer. His agent, Roger Paul, said: “Dustin did not suffer. He did not have to lie submerged in pain. For that, we are grateful.”

As tributes flooded in from his co-stars, Tori Spelling, who played his character Screech’s love interest, and Lark Voorhies, who took on the role of Lisa Turtle in the show, both highlighted the late actor’s gentlemanly conduct and caring behaviour.

"Dustin and I had a warm and special friendship, he was a caring gentleman and my memories of him will always be cherished," Voorhies told Variety.

Spelling remembered how he "welcomed me with open arms onto the set".

Other co-stars, including Elizabeth Berkley, Mark-Paul Gosselaar, Mario Lopez and Tiffani Thiessen, all took to social media to share their condolences and memories.

“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,” wrote Lopez, who played AC Slater.

Gosselaar, who played Zack Morris on the long-running show, added: “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.”

At the age of 11, Diamond beat 5,000 other actors to land the role as Samuel "Screech" Powers in the Disney show Good Morning, Miss Bliss. His character was then featured in the late-'80s spin-off, Saved by the Bell, followed by Saved By the Bell: The College Years and Saved By the Bell: The New Class. He was 23 by the time the show finally wrapped.

"The hardest thing about being a child star is giving up your childhood," he said in a Where Are They Now? interview for Oprah Winfrey Network in 2013. "You're a performer, you have to know your lines and rehearse and practise, making sure you are the funniest and the best you can be. Because if you weren't funny, you could be replaced."

The actor was one of the only main cast members not to be featured in last year's Saved By the Bell reboot.

"Dustin Diamond brought so much joy to so many people for years," wrote Minions screenwriter Brian Lynch. "I wish he could have had a second act where he turned everything around."

Scroll through the gallery above for all the tributes, plus a look at the life and career of Dustin Diamond.