Dustin Diamond, best known for playing Samuel “Screech” Powers in the hit sitcom Saved by the Bell, has died after his battle with cancer, Life & Style confirms. He was 44.

“We are saddened to confirm Dustin Diamond’s passing on Monday, February 1, 2021, due to carcinoma,” rep Roger Paul said. “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.”

The statement continued, “Dustin was a humorous and high-spirited individual whose greatest passion was to make others laugh. He was able to sense and feel other peoples’ emotions to such a length that he was able to feel them too — a strength and a flaw, all in one.”

Paul noted that “Diamond was a character in and of himself: an unpredictable spitfire who always left us shocked, but never left us bored. We are thankful he trusted us enough to share his genuine, authentic self with our team. We wish you knew him in the way that we did. 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. This loss is as much stinging as it is sudden.”

News of Diamond’s passing came after his hospitalization in Florida earlier this year. At the time, a source told Us Weekly the actor was “in a lot of pain” as his condition worsened. “It’s not good, it’s not good at all. He’s going to be in the hospital for a while,” the insider said in January. “He’s getting through his treatments now. It’s tough, it’s very hard. He has his ups and downs where he’s great one minute, but then he can be in a lot of pain — tears. It’s such an emotional time.”

Diamond got his first official acting credits for small roles in Yogi’s Great Escape and an episode of It’s a Living in 1987. The actor portrayed Screech for 13 episodes in Good Morning, Miss Bliss, which later became the basis for Saved by the Bell, which Diamond acted in until 1992.

Diamond married wife Jennifer Misner in 2009, but they later separated.