Saved By The Bell star Dustin Diamond will be cremated as part of his final wishes, his friend has confirmed, after the actor passed away aged 44 from lung cancer on Monday.
Diamond’s friend Dan Block said that the late actor’s ashes will be separated into two urns and shared by his father Mark Diamond and his girlfriend, known as Tash, TMZ report.
There are no plans as yet to spread the ashes, and a rep reportedly said Diamond did not want to be buried under a tombstone as he was afraid it would be defaced due to him being a public figure.
Saved By The Bell’s Dustin Diamond will be cremated as part of his ‘final wishes’: Actor’s ashes will be shared between his father and girlfriend after his death at 44 from lung cancer
Earlier this week, Diamond’s girlfriend and his best friend revealed the heartbreaking details of the Saved by the Bell star’s final days in an exclusive interview with DailyMail.com.
Diamond, 44, died on Monday, just three weeks after being diagnosed with stage four small-cell lung carcinoma.
Diamond’s girlfriend, known as Tash, 39, exclusively told DailyMail.com, ‘He was the love of my life. We planned on a future together and spoke often about having kids. I’m heartbroken.’ She also shared exclusive photos with DailyMail.com of his mini-Yorkie named Fin visiting him in the hospital and of the couple holding hands.
Tash, a certified pharmacy technician, said she is devastated and her entire world has been turned upside down. But she said she will cherish the last time he was able to speak to her – just one day before he died.
‘Even though he was struggling to breathe and had difficulty speaking he was able to get out the words to me, ”I love you,” I told him I loved him back.’
Tash said, ‘Dustin died at our friend Jules’ house in the Fort Meyers, Florida area.’
This photo was taken Sunday, the day before Diamond died. It shows him holding hands with girlfriend Tash and a ring on his finger. Tash now wears the ring around her neck
Emergency vehicles are seen outside of Jules’ house after Dustin’s girlfriend Tash discovered he wasn’t breathing after being brought home from hospital. He was pronounced dead at the scene in Fort Meyers, Florida
He had been hospitalized since last Friday and had just been released around noon on Monday and was being taken to their friend’s house by medical personal for hospice care.
Diamond was still on the gurney in the front room of the house while the hospice worker and their friend Jules were preparing his bedroom, when Tash found him not breathing. He was pronounced dead a short time after by emergency personnel.
Tash and their good friend Dan Block had followed the transport vehicle from the hospital to their friends’ house. They arrived just minutes after Dustin did, Tash said.
‘After I got out of our car I went into the house to be with Dustin. That was when I discovered he wasn’t breathing,’ she said.
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
Dan Block, President of Insurance Kings and Dustin’s best friend, said what happened the weekend before he died was unexpected.
‘Dustin just had been released from the hospital earlier in the week. He had been staying at his friend Jules’ house because the house he shared with Tash was being remodeled so for his health it was decided he was going to live at Jules’ house.
Jules noticed on Friday morning that he had problems breathing, so she called 911 and he was rushed to the hospital.
‘I spoke with Dustin the night before, Thursday, he told me he was in a lot of pain and the meds he was taking weren’t working. But he was excited to see his father who was flying out from California to see him the next morning,’ he said.
Block said when Dustin arrived at the hospital on Friday, his liver enzymes were elevated five times the normal level, his lungs were filling up with fluid, and he had a hard time breathing.
‘Last Friday and Saturday he was able to talk and by Sunday he was having real problems breathing and barely speaking. He was able to say a few things on Sunday, and was able to ask for a smoothie. But he was in pain. He got really bad by Sunday evening.
‘By Monday you could tell he was in pain, I think he was suffering, by the way he was breathing.
‘Another good friend of his, actor Todd Bridges, called me around 12.30pm and asked if I could put Dustin on the phone. I told Todd, Dustin couldn’t speak but I’d put his call on the speaker so Dustin could listen to Todd. Todd told Dustin, ”Hey man, love you brother, see you again one day soon.”’
Block said the phone call lasted about one minute. ‘I’m not sure if Dustin was coherent at this time, his eyes were moving around and his eyebrows were moving up and done.’
Bridges was the last person to speak with Dustin apart from Dan and Tash. About 30 minutes after the phone call with Bridges, Diamond was transported to his friends’ house for hospice care.
Block shared this fun snap of the actor. Dustin’s girlfriend said, ‘The thing he wanted most when I met him was a normal life, I tried to give that to him’
Dustin’s father Mark (left) is pictured with his best friend Dan Block (right). Block said, ‘I spoke with Dustin the night before, Thursday, he told me he was in a lot of pain and the meds he was taking weren’t working. But he was excited to see his father who was flying out from California to see him the next morning’
‘Dustin didn’t want a gravestone or a memorial service, he is going to be cremated in the next week and his remains are going to be split among Tash and his father, Mark,’ Block said. He shared this candid photo of the actor
‘We aren’t really sure when Dustin actually died, if he died at Jules’ house or if he died en route after leaving the hospital,’ added Block.
‘After Tash and I arrived at Jules’ house, Tash went inside to say hi and to let him know she was there. Instead, I heard Tash, say, ”I don’t think he’s breathing.” This was about 1.15pm. We called 911 and the police came. Dustin was pronounced dead at the house, he had a DNR.
Actor Todd Bridges was the last person to speak with Dustin apart from Dan and Tash. About 30 minutes after the phone call with Bridges, Diamond was transported to his friends’ house for hospice care
‘It was terrible…we were all crying that he was gone. We knew he was suffering and now he wasn’t.
‘Dustin didn’t want a gravestone or a memorial service, he is going to be cremated in the next week and his remains are going to be split among Tash and his father, Mark.’
Block, 45, said he hired Dustin in 2017 to appear in some commercials for his business Insurance King. They soon became quick friends,
In October 2019 Dustin was diagnosed with MRSA. ‘It started to eat away his earlobe and he kept putting makeup on it. At the time Dustin was living in Wisconsin and I live in Illinois so I made the three hour drive up there to take him to the hospital. He had a Nissan Rouge but since he owed money to the IRS they took it away from him, so he was basically housebound.’
Block said he spent three days in the hospital fighting the infection.
A few months after he was released from the hospital in December 2019, Block said Dustin went to Fort Meyers to visit some friends and never came back.
Block said he loved it down there and decided to stay.
‘He hated living in Wisconsin because of his legal problems and the negative publicity it generated for him. He just wanted to live a normal life.’
Block said he got a call from Dustin right before Thanksgiving 2020 and he said, ‘Dude I think I’ sick.’
‘I said is it worse than your MRSA?’
‘He said, it was more than a pain in the neck,’ continued Block.
Dustin ignored a ‘huge lump’ on his neck before he died from cancer. Block said Dustin ‘confessed to me that he first noticed the lump in his jawbone neck area around mid-summer but resisted to go to the hospital for fear of being recognized and making fun of him’
Diamond (left) is pictured with his co-stars Mark Gosselaar and Mario Lopez. He rose to fame as Screech, but hated that the role followed him for the rest of his life
‘Dustin told me the lump was on the left side of his neck right underneath the jawbone neck area. He sent me a picture of it and it was the size of a golf ball. He told me that Tash wanted him to go to the doctor to have it checked out.
‘He also confessed to me that he first noticed the lump in his jawbone neck area around mid-summer but resisted to go to the hospital for fear of being recognized and people making fun of him.
‘After finally going to the doctor and having the tumor biopsied he was told he had cancer.
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
‘Justin told me the cancer started in his spine and he had lesions on it and then it spread to other parts of his body.
‘He started his chemo treatment the first week of January, it was then he was given his prognosis, that he had anywhere from five months to a year to live.
‘Dustin was scared, he called me often crying, telling me he didn’t want to die. He was in a lot of pain. One time on the phone he told me, ”Find me a new body, I don’t want to die.”
‘He also feared having to undergo chemotherapy, his mother died of breast cancer and he saw what chemo did to her.
‘One day I asked Dustin if he had any regrets or anything he would like to do over.
‘He told me ”everything,” being Screech was both a blessing and a curse. Because of his fame, if he did anything wrong, the entire world would know. If he as just a normal person, only his family and a few friends would know and care.
‘He didn’t want to be known as Screech, it irritated him when someone called him Screech. He just wanted to be normal guy.’
Tash exclusively told DailyMail.com,
‘We met on Facebook in June, we had mutual friends. One day I received a message from him, something like ”hello, how are you?” I didn’t think it was him but thought he may have been a Troll, so I decided to play along.
‘I wasn’t sure I was talking to the real Dustin Diamond until I actually met him in person and we just clicked.’
Within the first month she knew he was the one and they had never really been apart since.
‘Dustin moved into my house last September, we were planning on spending the rest of our lives together.’
One thing she wants people to know is, ‘He had the biggest heart.’
‘He was recognized everywhere we went but he would have preferred to be just a normal person.
Dustin’s girlfriend said. ‘He was pure fun, I laughed more with him in these few short months that I have in my entire life’
‘When we first started dating I told him I didn’t want to be in any limelight, that is why up until now not many people knew he was living with me.
‘We never discussed marriage, but did talk about children in our future.’
But their plans changed after his cancer diagnosis.
‘Once we had the diagnosis, when he knew he was going to die, we talked about what he wanted. He didn’t want the big farewell, he wanted to go in peace.
‘You had to experience Dustin as a human being, you can’t describe him.
‘He was pure fun, I laughed more with him in these few short months that I have in my entire life.’
Dustin loved is mini-Yorkie dog, named Fin. When Dustin was initially hospitalized in January, Tash smuggled his beloved dog into the hospital so he could see if for the first time in weeks.
‘His face just light up when he saw Fin.
‘The thing he wanted most when I met him was a normal life, I tried to give that to him.’