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Friends star James Michael Tyler dies at 59 following stage 4 prostate cancer diagnosis

·2 min read

James Michael Tyler, who played Gunther on Friends, has died at 59.

His manager confirmed to the BBC that Tyler died on Sunday, peacefully at his home.

"If you met him once you made a friend for life," a statement from his manager read. "[He] is survived by his wife, Jennifer Carno, the love of his life."

James Michael Tyler attends the launch of Friendsfest at The Boiler House,The Old Truman Brewery, on September 15, 2015 in London, England.
James Michael Tyler attends the launch of Friendsfest at The Boiler House,The Old Truman Brewery, on September 15, 2015 in London, England.

Mike Marsland/WireImage James Michael Tyler

In June, Tyler revealed he was battling stage 4 prostate cancer.

"Wanting to help as many people as possible, he bravely shared his story and became a campaigner for those with a prostate to get a... blood test as early as 40-years-old," his manager said, per the BBC.

Tyler was well-known for his role as Gunther, the Central Perk coffee shop manager, who had an unrequited crush on Rachel (Jennifer Aniston) throughout the show's run.

FRIENDS, James Michael Tyler (Season 7) 1994-2004
FRIENDS, James Michael Tyler (Season 7) 1994-2004

Warner Bros./Courtesy: Everett Collection James Michael Tyler on 'Friends'

Despite his cancer fight, he was able to participate in the Friends Reunion on HBO Max earlier this year, though he did so via video conference.

"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 told Today in June. "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.'"

Tyler told Today that the producers of Friends were aware of the severity of his diagnosis and he had corresponded with David Schwimmer over Instagram.

During the interview on the NBC morning show, he urged people to listen to their doctors and get tested. "My goal this past year was to see my 59th birthday," Tyler said. "I did that. My goal now is to help at least save one life."

While best known for Friends, his other onscreen credits include Sabrina the Teenage Witch, Showtime's Episodes, and Scrubs.

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