James Michael Tyler, the actor best known for his role as Gunther on the series Friends, has died aged 59 after being diagnosed with prostate cancer three years ago. His manager, Toni Benson, confirmed that Tyler passed away on Sunday (24th October) at his home in Los Angeles.
In a statement, Benson wrote that while the world knew Tyler for his role on Friends, his loved ones “knew him as an actor, musician, cancer-awareness advocate, and loving husband” and “if you met him once you made a friend for life”. On Twitter, the official Friends account called Tyler “a beloved actor” and “integral part of our Friends family”.
Tyler was a frequent fixture on the show, appearing in some 150 episodes of the series between 1994 and 2004 as the manager of coffee shop Central Perk, who had an unrequited crush on Jennifer Aniston’s character, Rachel.
Earlier this year, he appeared via Zoom on the series’ reunion special, saying his time on the show was “the most memorable 10 years of my life”. Outside of Friends, Tyler also made appearances in episodes of Just Shoot Me, Sabrina, the Teenage Witch, Scrubs and Episodes.
Earlier this year, the actor announced during a US television interview that he had been diagnosed with stage four prostate cancer back in September of 2018.
“Next time you go in for just a basic exam or your yearly checkup, please ask your doctor for a PSA test. It’s easily detectable,” he said at the time. “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.”
Warner Bros. Television mourns the loss of James Michael Tyler, a beloved actor and integral part of our FRIENDS family. Our thoughts are with his family, friends, colleagues and fans. ❤️☕️ pic.twitter.com/9coGnT5BHz
— FRIENDS (@FriendsTV) October 24, 2021