'Friends' star James Michael Tyler passes away battling prostate cancer

WION Web Team
New DelhiUpdated: Oct 25, 2021, 10:40 AM IST


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James Michael Tyler, who played Gunther in the hit TV sitcom 'Friends' has died aged 59. 

Actor James Michael Tyler, who played Gunther in the hit TV sitcom 'Friends' has died aged 59. 

The actor breathed his last on Sunday morning after battling cancer for a prolonged period of time. 

"Tyler passed away peacefully at his home in Los Angeles on Sunday morning," a statement from his manager said.
"If you met him once you made a friend for life," it added. "[He] is survived by his wife, Jennifer Carno, the love of his life."

Earlier this year, Tyler revealed he was diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer in 2018 which later spread to his bones.

Actor James Michael Tyler, Gunther from 'Friends', reveals he is suffering from 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.

Tyler may not have had the same screen time as the six other actors on 'Friends', but he made his character Gunther memorable. 

In the show, Gunther worked as a waiter and manager of the coffee house, Central Perk.

He had a crush on Jennifer Aniston's character Rachel throughout the series, who also worked there as a waitress in the show's early seasons.

"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", his manager said.

Tyler was also part of the reunion special that aired in May this year. Due to his illness, he appeared on the special episode virtually. 

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"It was the most memorable 10 years of my life, honestly," the actor had said at the time of the show.

"I could not have imagined just a better experience," he said. "All these guys were fantastic and just a joy to work with. It felt very, very special."

Warner Bros Television, one of the co-producers of the sitcom, said Tyler was "a beloved actor and integral part of our 'Friends' family".

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Apart from 'Friends', Tyler starred in two short films - 'The Gesture and the Word', and 'Processing'. He even fetched best actor awards at various film festivals for these films.