James Michael Tyler, the actor famous for playing Gunther, the manager of the fictional coffee shop Central Perk on 150 episodes of Friends, died Sunday. He was 59, and the cause of death was prostate cancer, a diagnosis he made public in June. Tyler died "peacefully in his home," longtime manager Toni Benson said in a statement. "The world knew him as Gunther the seventh 'Friend,' but Michael's loved ones knew him as an actor, musician, cancer-awareness advocate, and loving husband."
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
Tyler's Gunther character carried an unrequited love for Jennifer Aniston's Rachel, who worked at Central Perk. Tyler actually was a barista at the Bourgeois Pig coffee shop in Los Angeles after college, before he landed roles on Sabrina the Teenage Witch, Just Shoot Me!, and finally, Friends.
While undergoing treatment for stage 4 prostate cancer, he appeared in two award-winning short films, The Gesture and the Word and Processing, USA Today reports, and when he announced his diagnosis he urged people to get tested for prostate cancer. His late-stage cancer was discovered during a routing physical in 2018, from a prostate specific antigen (PSA) test
Tyler is survived by his wife, Jennifer Carno.