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Actor James Michael Tyler, who is best known for playing lovable Central Perk waiter Gunther in Friends has opened up about his battle with stage 4 prostate cancer.
In an interview with NBC's Today show, the 59-year-old announced the heartbreaking news, revealing he was diagnosed almost three years ago in September 2018 and is currently undergoing chemotherapy.
Speaking about his diagnosis, James went on to explain that the disease has sadly spread to other parts of his body and left him unable to walk.
"I was diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer, which had spread to my bones. I’ve been dealing with that diagnosis for almost the past three years... it's stage 4. Late stage cancer. So eventually, you know, it's gonna probably get me", he said.
Opening up about the initial diagnosis, the actor said: "I was 56 years old at the time, and they screen for PSA, which is prostate-specific antigen. That came back at an extraordinarily high number. So I knew immediately when I went online and I saw the results of my blood test and blood work that there was obviously something quite wrong there."
The actor went on to reveal that it had progressed over the last year: "I missed going in for a test, which was not a good thing. So the cancer decided to mutate at the time of the pandemic, and so it’s progressed."
Actor James Michael Tyler (@slate_michael) played Gunther on “Friends” for 10 years, but he was unable to attend the recent cast reunion in person because he’s been battling a serious health issue. Now he’s sharing his news for the first time with @craigmelvin. pic.twitter.com/272tg4Sbvc
— TODAY (@TODAYshow) June 21, 2021
Now, he says that his "new role" is to encourage people to get tested, even if it means he'll "save just one life."
During the interview, the actor also spoke about how his health affected his involvement in the Friends reunion, after he opted out of appearing in-person: "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.
"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.'" he added.
We're sending our best wishes to James and his loved ones during this difficult time.
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