Saved By The Bell star Dustin Diamond was ‘too afraid’ to be seen at the doctors to check out a lump in his neck which turned out to be a deadly cancer.
The star most famously known as Screech from the hit US 90s high school drama died on Monday aged 44 just three weeks after his diagnosis of stage four small cell carcinoma.
His manager Roger Paul said following his death: ‘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.’
‘Of course he was scared, but he tried to find the humor in it. He did chemo — he tried everything possible. But it didn’t work,’ Paul told People magazine.
‘Dustin tried to be as positive as he could throughout everything — that’s who he was — but he was scared…He didn’t want to die.’
Diamond’s girlfriend of a year, Tash Jules, was by his side when he passed away as a last photo of him in hospital was revealed.
Paul said Diamond had been ‘feeling out of sorts and he’d had a lump on his neck that he was ignoring’ before Jules stepped in.
In a statement the manager 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. He has become a larger part of our everyday life: A part of our family and friend circle.’
He added: ‘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. Dustin 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.’
His co-stars from the show lined up to pay tribute. Mario Lopez wrote on Twitter: ‘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.’
And Mark-Paul Gosselaar, who played Zack Morris, wrote: ‘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.’
Whilst Tiffani Thiessen posted on Instagram: ‘I am deeply saddened by the news of my old co-star @realdustindiamond passing. Life is extremely fragile and it’s something we should never take for granted. God speed Dustin. (sic).’