James Michael Tyler, who played the beloved character Gunther on Friends has died aged 59.
In a statement, his family said: “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.”
Tyler kept his diagnosis a secret from the public for around three years, before revealing that he had prostate cancer that had spread to his bones.
“I was diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer, which had spread to my bones,” Tyler said in a June interview with Today.
“I’ve been dealing with that diagnosis for almost the past three years … It’s stage four (now). Late stage cancer. So eventually, you know, it’s gonna probably get me.”
Despite being a key member of the Friends cast, Tyler did not appear in the reunion special, telling Today that he did not want his illness to be a “downer” during the special.
“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,” he 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.’”