James Michael Tyler Dies; Friends Star Was 59


James Michael Tyler, best known to Friends fans as Central Perk manager Gunther on Friends, has died.

He was 59.

Variety first reported the news.

The actor opened up earlier this year about being diagnosed with Stage 4 prostate cancer.

At the time, Tyler revealed he learned of the diagnosis during a routine physical and was told it had spread to his bones.

“I’ve been dealing with that diagnosis for almost the past three years. … It’s stage 4 [now], late-stage cancer. So eventually, you know, it’s gonna probably get me,” Tyler said to host Today show host Craig Melvin in June.

He revealed he was put on hormone replacement therapy that initially worked well, but he learned that cancer had spread through his body in 2020.

Ahead of the star revealing the diagnosis, there were questions about why he was not a part of HBO Max’s Friends reunion special in person.

“I wanted to be a part of that, and initially, I was going to be on the stage, at least, with them and be able to take part in all the festivities. It was bittersweet, honestly. I was very happy to be included,” he said.

“It was my decision not to be a part of that physically and make an appearance on Zoom, basically, because I didn’t wanna bring a downer on it, you know?” he added. “… I didn’t want to be like, ‘Oh, and by the way, Gunther has cancer.'”

During the same interview, Tyler said that he wanted to “help save at least one life by coming out with this news.”

“There are other options available to men if they catch it before me. Next time you go in for just a basic exam or your yearly check-up, please ask your doctor for a PSA test.”

“It’s easily detectable. … If it spreads beyond the prostate to the bones, which is most prevalent in my form, it can be a lot more difficult to deal with,” he shared in the interview.

“A lot of men, if they catch this early, it’s easily treatable. I don’t want people to have to go through what I’ve been going through,” said Tyler.

“This is not … an easy process.”

He later added, “It’s made me, personally, just realize how important every moment is, every day. And fighting. Don’t give up. Keep fighting. Keep yourself as light as possible. And have goals. Set goals.”

Tyler appeared in 148 episodes of the NBC hit. His other TV credits included Episodes, Sabrina The Teenage Witch, Just Shoot Me, and Scrubs.

May Mr. Tyler rest in peace.

Paul Dailly is the Associate Editor for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.

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