Dustin Diamond’s girlfriend Tash said she’s “heartbroken” following the “Saved by the Bell” actor’s death earlier this week.
“He was the love of my life. We planned on a future together and spoke often about having kids,” the 39-year-old pharmacy technician told Daily Mail, adding that she last spoke to him the day before he passed away. “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.”
Diamond died at age 44 on Monday, just weeks after being diagnosed with stage 4 small-cell lung carcinoma.
According to Tash, Diamond was released from the hospital Monday to friend his friend Jules’ Ft. Myers, Fla., home for hospice care. While Jules and the hospice worker prepared his bedroom, Tash arrived to discover Diamond in the front room not breathing.
His best friend, Dan Block, explained that last week he was able to talk, but by Sunday he was barely able to breathe.
“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,” Block told the outlet. “It was terrible…we were all crying that he was gone. We knew he was suffering and now he wasn’t.”
Block said Diamond didn’t want a gravestone or a service and will be cremated next week.
Todd Bridges and Dustin Diamond in 2003.FilmMagic
“Dustin was scared, he called me often crying, telling me he didn’t want to die,” his friend explained. “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.’”
Block also described a phone call Diamond received in his final days from “Diff’rent Strokes” actor, Todd Bridges.
According to Block, Bridges told Diamond, “Hey man, love you brother, see you again one day soon.”
Block said Bridges was the last person to speak with Diamond apart from himself and Tash.
Reflecting on better days, Tash shared exactly how her under-the-rader relationship with Diamond came to be via Facebook.
“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.”