Mark Paul Gosselaar is just like the rest of us:
He can't believe Dustin Diamond is gone.
The actor, best known for having starred opposite Gosselaar for years on the sitcom Saved by the Bell as lovable nerd Samuel "Screech" Powers, died this past Monday at the age of 44.
Diamond had been diagnosed just three weeks earlier with stage four lung cancer, also referred to as small cell carcinoma cancer.
"It's always tough when someone passes away.
"I think it's even more so when the individual is someone you know and the age of Dustin," said Gosselaar in an interview on Tuesday with Tamron Hall.
"It was only a few weeks ago that we heard about his diagnosis and for it to happen so quickly is shocking."
Diamond never commented in public on his diagnosis, but multiple sources said last month that the actor was in a lot of pain.
He was removed from his breathing tubes and placed under hospice care just days before he passed away; thankfully, his girlfriend was by his side when it happened.
Added Gosselaar, who played Zack Morris on the original Saved by the Bell and has reprised the role here and there on Peacock's reboot of the series:
"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, sadly, had grown estranged from his former co-stars over the years.
He battled some drug problems and was arrested on multiple occasions and wasn't in close contact with almost any of his past colleagues.
"It's interesting," explained Gosselaar of this dynamic.
"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.
"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."
This said, everyone who knew Diamond back in the day and worked closely with him have expressed their sorrow over his passing.
Said Tiffani Thiessen on Instagram:
"I am deeply saddened by the news of my old co-star @realdustindiamond passing.
"Life is extremely fragile and it's something we should never take for granted. God speed Dustin."
Added Elizabeth Berkley on her page:
"I'm grateful to have gotten to create with Dustin when we were at the beginning of our dreams coming true.
"I will hold onto those sweet memories and the laughs we shared.
"Rest In Peace."
Mario Lopez, who previously said he had recently spoken to Dustin, then paid tribute to Diamond on Access Hollywood, telling viewers,
"It is with a heavy heart that I announce my friend and Saved by the Bell costar passed away this morning.
"He was like a little brother to me and we always remained in contact over the years. I actually spoke with him a couple weeks ago after he got his diagnosis.
"Even then, he was full of energy and he was optimistic.
"Life is just so fragile and not to be taken for granted. Our prayers are with Dustin's family and his friends."
We send our condolences to the friends, family members and loved ones of Dustin Diamond.
He died far too young.
May he rest in peace.