Dustin Diamond’s girlfriend of one year, Tash Jules, was by his side when he died.
The Saved By the Bell star’s longtime rep, Roger Paul told People that Diamond had been “feeling out of sorts and he’d had a lump on his neck that he was ignoring” before he was diagnosed with stage 4 small cell carcinoma. “He was afraid of the public attention if he went into the hospital. But finally, his girlfriend took him and the doctors confirmed it was cancer.”
His manager added that he was “scared” and “tried to find the humor in it.”
“He did chemo — he tried everything possible. But it didn’t work. Dustin tried to be as positive as he could throughout everything — that’s who he was — but he was scared,” Paul added. “He didn’t want to die.”
In Touch confirmed the star died at age 44 on Monday, February 1. Paul said he was only diagnosed with the “brutal, relentless form of malignant cancer three weeks ago.” In that time, “it managed to spread rapidly throughout his system,” but he “he did not suffer. He did not have to lie submerged in pain.”
News of Diamond’s passing came after his hospitalization in Florida last month. 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 shared. “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, but he was best known for playing the lovable Samuel “Screech” Powers on Saved by the Bell.
Celebrities have since shared tributes via social media. Mario Lopez, better known as “A.C.” Slater on SBTB, noted how much Diamond will be missed, adding on Instagram, “The fragility of this life is something never to be taken for granted. Prayers for your family will continue on.”
Tori Spelling, who played his girlfriend Violet Anne Bickerstaff, remembered the late actor with a heartfelt tribute alongside a photo of their characters on the series.
“My 1st onscreen love Dustin Diamond got his Angel wings today,” the Beverly Hills, 90210 star shared. “Before there was David and Donna, there was Screech and Violet. … He was kind, smart and always making everyone laugh. He was a great scene partner. He was a really good guy.”
Diamond was previously married to longtime girlfriend Jennifer Misner. They tied the knot in 2009 but separated in 2013.
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