Tori Spelling is paying tribute to Dustin Diamond in the wake of his sudden death.
The Beverly Hills, 90210 star took to her Instagram on Monday to honor the late 44-year-old actor, who was her first “onscreen love” during Spelling’s stint on Saved By the Bell when she was a young teen.
Alongside a photo of their characters, Violet Anne Bickerstaff and Samuel “Screech” Powers, the 47-year-old star wrote:
“My 1st onscreen love Dustin Diamond got his Angel wings today. Before there was David and Donna there was Screech and Violet. Dustin was my first on-screen kiss. He welcomed me with open arms onto the set of Saved By the Bell. As one can imagine being the newbie on a hit show was overwhelming for a 14-year-old girl. He not only showed me around but made sure I was always ok. Such a young gentleman. He was kind, smart, and always making everyone laugh. He was a great scene partner. He was a really good guy.”
The actress went on to lament about not having “much contact” with Diamond in the years since, but noted that he’ll always have a special place in her heart. She continued:
“I’m sad after the show we never had much contact aside from occasionally running into each other at events. I’m glad he’s out of pain. He’s an icon to me professionally and personally. RIP Samuel love, your Violet.”
See her full post (below).
Of course, Spelling isn’t the only SBTB alum to pay tribute to Diamond following his nasty cancer battle. As we reported, cast members like Mark-Paul Gosselaar, Mario Lopez, and Tiffani Thiessen honored their fallen Bayside High classmate on social media.
Meanwhile, Diamond’s longtime manager Roger Paul has been speaking out about the ‘90s star’s sad final days, telling People the actor’s girlfriend of one year, Tash Jules, was by his side every step of the way. Paul said the California native had been “feeling out of sorts and he’d had a lump on his neck that he was ignoring” before Jules took him to the hospital, explaining:
“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.”
Specifically, stage 4 small cell carcinoma — a cancer that commonly occurs in lungs, but can also manifest in the prostate or gastrointestinal tract. Paul revealed that Diamond tried his best to stay positive while undergoing treatment, sharing:
“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. 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.”
So unbelievably tragic. While the actor undoubtedly passed away far too soon, he’ll always be remembered by friends, fans, and former colleagues as a true icon. RIP, Dustin.
[Image via James Shaw/WENN]
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