Back in February, Saved by the Bell star Dustin Diamond passed away at the age of 44 years old just three weeks after he was diagnosed with cancer. The news came as a shock to fans of the '90s series, including the cast members themselves. Diamond's former co-stars, including Mario Lopez, Tiffani Thiessen, Elizabeth Berkley, Mark-Paul Gosselaar, and Lark Voorhies, came together to send their condolences after his passing.
During an interview with PopCulture.com, Thiessen said although she had not spoken to the actor "in years," it felt like a "surreal" moment and despite their differences, he holds a "special place" in her heart. "Yeah, it was, again, kind of a surreal moment," the Deliciousness host said while also discussing her partnership with Nutri-Grain on behalf of their "Getaway From Negotiation" campaign. "No one knew that he was having health issues. I guess he really didn't know, either. It wasn't a relationship that we talked to him very much; we're pretty public about it. There was a lot of things that he felt and said, and he just wasn't even in our sort of circle anymore."
"He had moved away," she continued. "So, I hadn't talked to him in years, but he always had a special place in my heart. I mean, I grew up with this kid, and so it was hard to hear that, you know? Very surreal, it was very, very surreal."
Diamond died on Feb. 1, 2021, after he battled with Stage 4 lung cancer. At the time, Diamond's agent, Roger Paul, told Rolling Stone, "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."
His agent added, "Dustin did not suffer. He did not have to lie submerged in pain. For that, we are grateful." He then went on to describe the actor as a "character" and a "spitfire." Thiessen and Gosselaar both took to social media after his passing to share a few words in honor of their former co-star. "I am deeply saddened by the news of my old co-star [Dustin Diamond] passing," Thiessen wrote. "Life is extremely fragile and it's something we should never take for granted. God speed Dustin." Gosselaar 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."