The Saved By the Bell alum died on Monday, February 1, at the age of 44, less than one month after revealing his cancer diagnosis. According to Block, the California native had high hopes of reprising his role as Screech on Peacock’s reboot of the ’90s show alongside Kevin, his character’s robot friend.
“There was a leak that came out that they were going to write Screech with a robot up in space and two years ago, I commissioned someone to make Kevin and I had it almost ready to go … and I sent him that and he was so excited,” Block exclusively told Us Weekly on Friday, February 5. “He was like, ‘Oh, my God, you’re going to have Kevin. If they ask me to come back to the show and I’m not well enough to be on camera, then maybe I can just do the voice and they can have the voice come through the robot.’ He was so excited and he had something to live for — something to look forward to.”
The Behind the Bell author’s rep, Roger Paul, confirmed in a statement on Monday that Diamond’s “brutal, relentless form of malignant cancer” spread “rapidly throughout his system.” His passing was “sudden” but “Dustin did not suffer,” the rep added.
Block told Us that Diamond “will be cremated” with his ashes being placed in urns for both his father, Mark Diamond, and his girlfriend, Tash. “Dustin didn’t really want to have a service or memorial,” his friend said. “The people that he wanted there, were there. He knows that there [are] people who love him all over the place and he just didn’t want to have to burden anybody and with [the coronavirus pandemic] and everything else. He just wanted to be at peace.”
Before his death, Dustin was “getting concerned” about his prognosis and was nervous about the side effects of his treatment. “He had called me a couple of weeks ago and told me he thought the chemo was going to kill him … He was really scared,” Block said.
While a large funeral wasn’t part of Dustin’s plan, he and Block thought of ways they could give back to other people whose lives have been impacted by cancer. “He wanted to raise money for Susan G. Komen [because his mom passed from breast cancer],” the Insurance King president explained. “We haven’t contacted them yet but that’s what we’re planning on doing because that’s kind of what he wanted to do.”
Tributes from Dustin’s former Saved By the Bell costars flooded social media following the sad news of his death. On Tuesday, February 2, Mario Lopez revealed that the pair had recently talked about working on something together in the coming years.
“I’m happy to say and I feel good about always having stayed in touch with Dustin. He had some struggles and a complicated life, but we all do,” Lopez explained during an episode of Access Hollywood. “I don’t abandon, like, my friends or never turn my back on people that are always there for me and I stood by him. … We were actually discussing, when I talked to him recently, just two weeks prior to him passing, about the upcoming season and figuring out doing something cool. I was trying to convince him to do something in the reality space that I’d be producing for him. It was actually pretty funny.”
“Dustin and Mario have a [special] thing,” Block told Us. “If and when his girlfriend wants to speak, she is going to speak to Mario first. … Dustin loved Mario.”
With reporting by Diana Cooper