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'A true comedic genius': Mario Lopez, Mark-Paul Gosselaar more mourn Dustin Diamond

Jenna Ryu, USA TODAY
·4 min read
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Celebrities are mourning the death of Dustin Diamond, who died Monday following his cancer battle.

Diamond, who died at 44 following his carcinoma diagnosis, was famed for playing the relatable, irritating geek Samuel "Screech" Powers from the late 1980s until 2000 on TV sitcom "Saved by the Bell." His Bayside High School classmates were among the first to pay tribute to the actor.

"Dustin, you will be missed my man," Mario Lopez, who played A.C. Slater, tweeted. "The fragility of this life is something never to be taken for granted. Prayers for your family will continue on..."

Mark-Paul Gosselaar, who played Zack Morris, remembered Diamond as "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," he wrote.

"I am deeply saddened by I (sic) the news of my old co-star @realdustindiamond passing," Tiffani Thiessen, who played Kelly Kapowski, wrote on Instagram. "Life is extremely fragile and it’s something we should never take for granted. God speed Dustin. 💔"

"Good Burger" star Kel Mitchell commented on Thiessen's tribute, writing, "praying for you and Dustin’s family during this time."

Tori Spelling, who portrayed Screech’s girlfriend Violet Anne Bickerstaff, called her "1st onscreen love" an "icon to me professionally and personally."

"Before there was David and Donna (on 'Beverly Hills, 90210') there was Screech and Violet. Dustin was my first on-screen kiss,” Spelling wrote alongside an Instagram picture of their characters. "RIP Samuel love, your Violet."

Spelling recalled Diamond being a "young gentleman" when welcoming her to the show "with open arms."

"As one can imagine being the newbie on a hit show was overwhelming for a 14-year-old girl. He not only showed me around but made sure I was always ok," she wrote. "He was kind, smart, and always making everyone laugh. He was a great scene partner. He was a really good guy… I’m glad he’s out of pain."

Other celebrities also paid tribute.

TV personality Loni Love commemorated Diamond for portraying "one of the most lovable tv characters."

"Thank you for making my childhood a little more funnier.. rest now. Condolences to his family," she tweeted.

Dustin Diamond: 'Saved by the Bell' star dies at 44 after battle with cancer

Wendy Williams tweeted that "our hearts go out to the family, friends and fans of actor #DustinDiamond."

Rapper Juicy J also tweeted condolences.

"Saved by the bell was one of my favorite tv shows," her wrote. "R.I.P. Screech"

In January, Diamond's Facebook page revealed he was hospitalized to undergo "medical testing." Diamond's representative Roger Paul later confirmed his cancer diagnosis.

On Monday, Paul confirmed Diamond's death to USA TODAY.

"We are saddened to confirm of Dustin Diamond’s passing on Monday, February 1st, 2021 due to carcinoma," his publicist Roger Paul told USA TODAY.

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

Contributing: Associated Press, Cydney Henderson, Erin Jensen and Charles Trepany

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Dustin Diamond dies: Mario Lopez, Mark-Paul Gosselaar, others react