James Michael Tyler, Who Played Gunther On “Friends,” Has Died Of Prostate Cancer At 59
That dirty piece of trash known as cancer has popped up yet again, this time taking the life of Friends actor, James Michael Tyler, who was best known as the seventh friend–the King of the Central Perk coffeehouse–Gunther. The 59-year-old had battled prostate cancer for years before dying this past Sunday and the cast paid tribute to their former co-worker.
CNN says James was first diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2018. While on The Today Show, James revealed that his doctor discovered cancer during a routine physical and it quickly spread to his bones, which left him unable to walk. He was treated with hormone therapy and posted a lot about cancer awareness and his own journey battling the disease:
But sadly he passed at his home on Sunday and is survived by his wife, Jennifer Carno. His representative, Toni Benson, gave a statement:
“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.”
Co-creators of Friends, Marta Kauffman and David Crane, said to CNN that James was a “genuinely kind, sweet man.”
“When he started as an extra on Friends, his unique spirit caught our eye and we knew we had to make him a character. He made Gunther’s unrequited love incredibly relatable. Our heart goes out to his wife, Jennifer Carno.”
During the Friends HBO Max reunion, James appeared virtually and said of his time on the show:
“It was the most memorable 10 years of my life, honestly… I could not have imagined just a better experience. All these guys were fantastic. It was just a joy to work with them. I felt very, very special.”
News of James’ death soon hit the rest of the Friends-family and the official account tweeted out condolences to James’ loved ones:
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
The entire cast of Friends also paid tribute to James Michael Tyler, starting with Jennifer Aniston who played the object of Gunther’s affection and the dumbest Friends character since Rachel never ever stopped fighting fate by getting with Gunther. Jennifer included a clip from the show from when Rachel finally lets Gunther down easy in the series finale, saying “Friends would not have been the same without you.”
We lost a good Friend yesterday in James Michael Tyler. Gunther, you will be missed. Read in Peace.
— matthew perry (@MatthewPerry) October 25, 2021
Rest in peace, James Michael Tyler.
Pic: Lia Toby/WENN.com