DUSTIN Diamond has been diagnosed with cancer and was too afraid to seek medical help earlier in case people made fun of him, a worried pal has revealed.

The Saved by the Bell star, 44, was rushed to hospital in Florida over the weekend with doctors saying his condition was "serious".

Dustin Diamond has cancer but was afraid to seek treatment earlier in case people made fun of lump on his neck, pal says

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Dustin has cancer, his close friend has revealed Credit: Getty Images – Getty

Now his close friend Dan Block has revealed that the 44-year-old has had a "huge lump" on his neck for some time – but tragically put off going to the hospital in case people took photos and posted them online.

He's now urged people to stop trolling the star and posting mean comments as he battles to get better.

"Dustin has cancer – we don't know what type or how advanced – we'll find out tomorrow," Dan told The Sun.

"Right now we don't know how bad it is or where it has spread.

Dustin Diamond has cancer but was afraid to seek treatment earlier in case people made fun of lump on his neck, pal says

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Dustin met Dan (pictured right) after he hired him to star in his commercialsCredit: Insurance King
Dustin Diamond has cancer but was afraid to seek treatment earlier in case people made fun of lump on his neck, pal says

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Dustin starred in Saved By The Bell for over a decadeCredit: Getty Images – Getty

"I wanted to say something because there's people out there saying it's a hoax – it's not a hoax, Dustin is sick.

"It started off as a tumor on his neck – a huge lump on his throat – and it was very visible.

"He was afraid of someone taking pictures of it and posting it online."

A rep for the actor confirmed it was cancer, adding: "I'd like to ask everybody to keep Dustin in their thoughts and prayers."

Dan said it is the second time Dustin, best known for playing Samuel "Screech" Powers on the popular sitcom, has been hospitalized in the past two years.

Dustin Diamond has cancer but was afraid to seek treatment earlier in case people made fun of lump on his neck, pal says

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He played popular character Screech in Saved By The Bell Credit: Getty – Contributor

"About two years ago he called me and told me he had this thing on his face like a sore – and that he was really worried about it," Dan said.

"He was taking antibiotics but he didn't want to go to the doctor and then about a week later he Facetimed me and said it was getting really bad.

"I drove right over there – it's about two hours away – and took him to the hospital and it was MRSA.

"I stayed with him at the hospital and there were doctors with full-on biohazard suits and it was really bad. He got a huge scar on his face from that.

"When he told me a few weeks ago and told me about his neck and said he was sick again – I asked him, 'Is it as bad as MRSA?' and he said 'It's WORSA'.

"That was him being funny about it, which is totally his character.

Dustin Diamond has cancer but was afraid to seek treatment earlier in case people made fun of lump on his neck, pal says

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Dustin was also hospitalized a couple of years ago with MRSA, a friend revealedCredit: PA:Press Association

"He had a biopsy and he's hospitalized now and we're just trying to figure out whats going to happen next.

"I know that the reason he didn't get help is because when he goes out people take pictures, put it on the internet and say not nice things about him.

"He's subject to public ridicule all the time and it sucks. People need to know he is a human.

"This thing was on his neck for a period of time and then it just grew really fast and then he had to go to the hospital at that point. We just hope it's not too late."

Dan, who became friends with Dustin after hiring him for commercials for his business Insurance King also made an emotional video about Dustin's illness, which he posted on Facebook.

Dustin Diamond has cancer but was afraid to seek treatment earlier in case people made fun of lump on his neck, pal says

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Dustin has starred in several humorous commercials for Insurance King Credit: Insurance King

"He has a huge huge lump in his throat …I'm not going to post a picture of it so people can make it into a meme – this isn't funny, Dustin is sick. This is real," tearful Dan said.

"The reason it got so big is because he was afraid to go out in public and get help because someone would have saw him in the lobby and taken a picture and put it on the internet.

"He's a person. It's real. It's not a hoax….Please give him his peace and let him try to get better."

Dan is now asking Dustin's fans to send letters and cards to his office and he'll go deliver them to Dustin in hospital in Florida.

"I've been reading all the comments people have made online – and people really need to stop with the mean comments," he said.

"We are accepting letters and cards from fans and then we'll take them down to Dustin. We have a team ready.

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"I know a lot of people do love Dustin but he doesn't want to look online at the moment because he sees all the negative comments.

"I think it would mean a lot to him and really help him at this time."

DUSTIN Diamond has been diagnosed with cancer and was too afraid to seek medical help earlier in case people made fun of him, a worried pal has revealed.