Saved By The Bell star Dustin Diamond, 44, 'is going through a lot of pain' as he battles stage 4 cancer in hospital

SAVED By The Bell star Dustin Diamond is "going through a lot of pain" as he battles stage 4 cancer.

The 44-year-old actor was rushed to hospital in Florida earlier this month to treat a "huge" lump on his neck and is currently having chemotherapy.

Sources said Dustin – best known for playing Samuel "Screech" Powers in Saved By The Bell – is finding the treatment "very hard".

"It's not good, it's not good at all. He's going to be in the hospital for a while. It's tough, it's very hard," an insider told Us Weekly.

"He's going through a lot of pain, but he still keeps his spirits up. Right now, he's just suffering. He has his ups and downs where he's great one minute, but then he can be in a lot of pain – tears. It's such an emotional time."

The insider added that Dustin's girlfriend, friends and family are checking in on him every day to keep his spirits up.

"Those close to him try calling him every day to try to cheer him up," they said.

"He has a handful of people who are in his close circle – his girlfriend being one of them. They have no idea when he can go home."

Dustin's close friend Dan Block told The Sun that he "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.

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

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

"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 has been hospitalized in the past two years.

"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."

Dustin's Saved By The Bell costar Mario Lopez shared his support for the actor after news of his devastating diagnosis broke.

He wrote: "I connected with Dustin earlier this evening and although the news of his diagnosis is heartbreaking, we remain positive that he’ll overcome this. Praying for him & his family and for a speedy recovery. God Bless."

Just two months ago, Dustin's friend Dan told The Sun how shocked Dustin was that he was left out of the sitcom's reboot, despite the rest of the cast coming back.

Dustin starred in the NBC series, which aired for four seasons from 1989 and 1993 followed by several spin-off series.

After the show ended, however, his career took a dive and in 2006 he released a sex tape called Screech: Saved by The Smell.

Then in December 2014, Dustin was involved in a bar brawl that resulted in a man being stabbed, and the actor was arrested.

In 2015, Dustin was sentenced to four months behind bars on charges of carrying a concealed weapon and disorderly conduct.

The actor also released a book in which he claimed that the show's stars were having sex with each other and using drugs on the set of the hit sitcom – which prompted the cast to stop communicating with him.

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