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Saved By The Bell's Mark-Paul Gosselaar remembers Dustin Diamond, explains why they drifted apart

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ABC/Sami Drasin

(LOS ANGELES) — Just after the tragic news that Saved By The Bell‘s Dustin Diamond lost his battle with cancer, his former co-star Mark-Paul Gosselaar is opening up about the untimely passing. 

Speaking with Tamron Hall, Gosselaar, who portrayed heartthrob Zach Morris on the ’90s sitcom and its current reboot, shared that the entire cast — which includes Mario Lopez, Tiffani Thiessen, Elizabeth Berkley and Lark Voorhies — were “shocked” to hear the unfortunate news

“Well, it’s always tough when someone passes away,” Gosselaar said. “I think it’s even more so when the individual is someone you know and the age of Dustin — it was only a few weeks ago that we heard about his diagnosis and for it to happen so quickly is shocking. Myself and the rest of the cast, we will get together at some point and sort of express our feelings, but yeah, it happened so quickly that we’re all just pretty shocked about it.”

Diamond, known as Screech, succumbed to lung cancer earlier this month, just a few weeks after his diagnosis was confirmed. The actor, who was being treated in Florida, was 44. 

Gosselaar added that he and his former co-star had lost touch over the years, but not because anything bad happened. 

“A lot of people may not understand that you can work with somebody for years — you can be very close, you see this person every day for an entire season of shooting and then once things wrap, the camera stops, you just drift apart,” he explained. “There’s no reason other than just things happen in life and before you know it, years have passed and I think that was what happened with Dustin with the rest of the cast. There was a time when I wasn’t talking with anybody on the cast.”

By Danielle Long
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