James Michael Tyler Dies, Friends Star Was 59

    The sad news was announced on Sunday that James Michael Tyler has died following the actor’s three year battle with prostate cancer. Best known for playing the role of Gunther in Friends, the 59 year old only revealed his diagnosis in June this year, having fought the disease in private since September 2018. Tyler passed away at home in Los Angeles on Sunday morning. The family issued a statement confirming the stars death.

    “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 advocate, and loving husband. Michael loved live music, cheering on his Clemson Tigers, and would often find himself in fun and unplanned adventures. If you met him once you made a friend for life,” the statement reads.

    RELATED: Friends Cast Pays Tribute to James Michael Tyler

    Tyler made an appearance on Today via Zoom in June when he revealed that he was in the late stages of cancer and acknowledged “It’s gonna probably get me.” The actor was notably absent from the Friends: The Reunion special in May, and as he explained on TODAY, he had not felt it right to make the announcement earlier and “put a downer” on the special event. “I was diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer, which had spread to my bones,” Tyler shared. “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.”

    “I was 56 years old at the time, and they screen for PSA, which is prostate-specific antigen,” Tyler continued. “That came back at an extraordinarily high number … So I knew immediately when I went online and I saw the results of my blood test and blood work that there was obviously something quite wrong there. Nearly immediately, my doctor called me and said ‘Hey, I need you to come in tomorrow because I suspect that you may have quite a serious problem with your prostate.'”

    Tyler went on to turn the video message into a call for everyone who is eligible for a PSA test to get one whenever they visit their doctor for a checkup.

    “I missed going in for a test, which was not a good thing,” Tyler said. “So the cancer decided to mutate at the time of the pandemic, and so it’s progressed. 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 checkup, 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.”

    Speaking about the Friends Reunion, he added, “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,” Tyler said. “It was bittersweet, honestly. 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.'”

    The official Friends Twitter account remembered the actor in a post saying, “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.”

    We echo this sentiment, and send thoughts to everyone who knew the actor at this sad time. May he rest in peace. The news was initially broken by TMZ.

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