Dustin Diamond ignored a ‘huge lump’ on his neck before he died from cancer, according to a new report.
The Saved By The Bell star, 44, passed away in Florida on Monday, just three weeks after being diagnosed with stage 4 small-cell lung carcinoma.
Diamond’s girlfriend, Tash Jules, was by his side when he died – and it was she who insisted he have the large lump checked out the previous month.
‘He had been feeling out of sorts and he’d had a lump on his neck that he was ignoring,’ Diamond’s manager, Roger Paul, told People on Tuesday.
‘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.’
Dustin Diamond ignored a ‘huge lump’ on his neck before he died from cancer, according to new reports. The Saved By The Bell star, 44, passed away in Florida on Monday, just three weeks after being diagnosed with stage 4 small-cell lung carcinoma. He is pictured in 2016
Diamond did not share any social media photos of the lump, and the last image of the actor was a selfie which showed him in his hospital bed before before he passed away
The California-born actor was first cast as lovable geek Sam ‘Screech’ Powers back in 1988, when he was just 11 years old. The actor had spent decades trying to escape the role that made him famous
Paul’s comments echo what Diamond’s pal, Dan Block, told The Sun last month, following the sitcom star’s shock cancer diagnosis.
‘It started off as a tumor on his neck – a huge lump on his throat – and it was very visible,’ Block told the tabloid.
‘He was afraid of someone taking pictures of it and posting it online.’
Diamond did not share any social media photos of the lump, and the last known image of the actor was a selfie which showed him in his hospital bed before before he passed away.
Diamond had been feeling unwell in the weeks prior to his hospital appointment.
After being diagnosed with small-cell lung carcinoma in early January, he underwent a round of chemotherapy and remained optimistic in spite of the odds he faced.
‘Of course he was scared, but he tried to find the humor in it. Dustin tried to be as positive as he could throughout everything — that’s who he was — but he was scared,’ Paul told People on Tuesday.
‘He did chemo – he tried everything possible. But it didn’t work.’
News of Diamond’s death prompted an outpouring of grief from Saved By The Bell fans around the world on Monday – but the actor had spent decades trying to escape the role that made him famous.
Diamond (second from left) is seen with his cast mates on the red carpet back in 1989
Diamond was first cast as lovable geek Sam ‘Screech’ Powers back in 1988, when he was just 11 years old. Stephen Colbert initially auditioned for the role, but was unsuccessful.
The child star’s character was one of the most beloved on the super-popular sitcom, which ran for four seasons.
Diamond spent his teenage years in the glare of the public spotlight, but he later revealed that the attention had an adverse effect.
Full-time filming of the program ceased in 1992, when Diamond was just 16 years old. He subsequently struggled to find roles where he wasn’t typecast as a Saved By The Bell-style geek.
‘I didn’t know what to do,’ Diamond stated during a 2013 interview with Oprah’s OWN network
‘It was hard to get work that wasn’t Screech-clone stuff.’
In 2016, during an interview with Extra, he similarly stated: ‘I’m proud of the work that I’ve done when I’ve done it. It’s just, how do you come off such a phenom role of this Screech character and break out of that mold and do something different?’
‘I’d audition, and every single time they’d say, “Hey, we loved it, but we saw too much Screech in it.” Well, I can’t change my bone structure, what do you want me to do?
Diamond became an instant hit playing Screech in the super-popular sitcom, which ran for four season. However, when he later went on to audition for other roles, he found he had become typecast as a high school geek
Diamond (left) is pictured with his co-stars Mark Gosselaar and Mario Lopez
The teen idol struggled with the fact he hit a career high before he even became an adult, and subsequently battled substance abuse, legal dramas and money troubles
‘The hardest thing about being a child star is giving up your childhood. You don’t get a childhood, really,’ Diamond told OWN.
In 2009, he released an autobiography titled Behind The Bell, in which he revealed he did not get along with his co-stars, and claimed they did drugs on set.
Diamond later claimed the book was penned by a ghostwriter and the claims had been ‘exaggerated’. He told media that he had tried to get in touch with his old co-stars and apologize.
Despite doing so, Diamond was not invited back to star on the show’s 2020 revival, which is now streaming on Peacock.
‘We are aware that Dustin is not considered reputable by most,’ his agent, Roger Paul, stated on Monday.
‘He had a history of mishaps, of unfortunate events. We want the public to understand that he was not intentionally malevolent. He — much like the rest of those who act out and behave poorly — had undergone a great deal of turmoil and heartache.’
Diamond is pictured leaving court in Port Washington, Wisconsin in 2015 after being convicted of two misdemeanors stemming from a barroom fight on Christmas Day in 2014
Even though he was a major reason for the show’s success, Diamond’s career floundered in the wake of Saved By The Bell.
He later appeared on reality shows like Celebrity Fit Club, Celebrity Boxing 2 and Celebrity Big Brother.
In recent years, Diamond also worked as a stand-up comedian.
In 2006, he released a sex tape called Screeched-Saved by the Smell that he directed and supposedly starred in. Diamond later claimed that it wasn’t actually him in the video and it was a stuntman with his face superimposed on it.
‘The sex tape is the thing that I’m most embarrassed about,’ he said during the 2013 interview.
‘You know, I definitely got some money off of it but it wasn’t worth what the fallout was. I mean people to this day, they look down on me.’
On Christmas in 2014, Diamond got into a bar fight and allegedly stabbed a man in a town near Milwaukee. He was found guilty the following year of disorderly conduct and carrying a concealed weapon
On Christmas in 2014, Diamond got into a bar fight and allegedly stabbed a man in a town near Milwaukee. He was found guilty the following year of disorderly conduct and carrying a concealed weapon.
He was sentenced to four months in jail and served three months.
Diamond later told Mario Lopez, his former co-star who was then the host of Extra, that someone hit his then fiancee Amanda Schutz while they were out celebrating Christmas. He said he took out his pocketknife to protect her.
When Saved by the Bell was rebooted, Diamond – unlike other original cast members – was not asked to returned. The show premiered in November 2020 on NBCUniversal’s new streaming service, Peacock.
Diamond encountered financial trouble during his career and filed for bankruptcy in 2001.
He was also sued several times for delinquent taxes and in foreclosure proceedings for missing mortgage payments.
He once launched an elaborate crowdfunding bid to save his house, selling T-shirts with his face on to raise $250,000 dollars.
The back of the T-shirts read ‘I paid 15.00 dollars to save Screeech’s house’. The extra ‘e’ was reportedly added to avoid breaching copyright laws.
Diamond does not have any children and is survived by his father and girlfriend.
He married Jennifer Misner back in 2009 but they divorced in 2013. Misner reportedly suffered a miscarriage when the two were dating in 2004.
Diamond later became engaged to Schutz – the woman he said he was protecting when he stabbed the man in Wisconsin. It is unclear exactly when they separated.
Another TV show: Diamond and Courtney Stodden on Celebrity Big Brother in Britain in 2013