‘Friends’ actor who played Gunther dies at 59 following cancer battle


James Michael Tyler had said his Stage 4 cancer worsened during the pandemic.

Actor James Michael Tyler, who played Gunther on “Friends,” has lost his battle with prostate cancer.

He died Saturday at the age of 59, “Friends” producer Kevin Bright announced on Twitter.

“James Michael Tyler Our Gunther passed away last night. He was an incredible person who spent his final days helping others. God bless you James, Gunther lives forever,” he tweeted Sunday.

The official “Friends” Twitter account also posted a tribute, writing, “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.”

Earlier this year, Tyler revealed to NBC’s “Today” show that his fight against the illness left his lower body paralyzed, keeping him from participating in the recent HBO Max “Friends” reunion in person. He did, however, appear via video call.

The actor told “Today” the cancer was Stage 4, and had spread to his bones. “So eventually, you know, it’s gonna probably get me,” he said.

He also explained his cancer worsened during the pandemic last year.

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

In 2019, Tyler told ABC Audio he was “grateful” his character on “Friends” has left such an impression.

“I got there, started with one word, and really no storyline whatsoever. You got to say ‘Yeah,'” he recalled.

“I believe the whole like ‘Gunther’s unrequited love for Rachel’ was only supposed to be about one or two episodes, but they kept that story arc for 10 years, which I’m very grateful for,” he said.

Tyler is survived by his wife, Jennifer Carno.