James Michael Tyler, who played Central Perk employee Gunther on the sitcom “Friends,” died of prostate cancer. Tyler died “peacefully in his home” on Sunday, October 24, according to his manager Toni Benson.
“The world knew him as Gunther (the seventh “Friend”), from the hit series ‘Friends,’ but Michael’s loved ones knew him as an actor, musician, cancer-awareness champion, and beloved husband,” Tyler’s family stated in a statement. Michael enjoyed going to concerts, rooting for his Clemson Tigers, and going on spontaneous adventures.
If you met him once you made a friend for life.” Tyler who played Gunther for 10 seasons on the sitcom, announced his cancer battle in June after he was unable to attend the Friends reunion taping in-person earlier this year; he appeared on the special via Zoom.
“It was bittersweet, honestly,” Tyler said of the reunion. “I was very happy to be included. 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? I didn’t want to be like, ‘Oh, and by the way, Gunther has cancer.
’ He was first diagnosed with prostate cancer in September 2018, and by the time of his announcement, it had already spread to his bones. “It’s stage 4. Late stage cancer,” Tyler said in June. “So eventually, you know, it’s gonna probably get me.
” In addition to his role on Friends, Tyler also appeared in episodes of Scrubs, Just Shoot Me! and as himself the Matt LeBlanc-starring Episodes, where he was recruited by his former cast mate to appear in a promotional video.