James Michael Tyler, best known as Gunther in Friends, has sadly died

Photo credit: Mike Marsland - Getty Images
Photo credit: Mike Marsland - Getty Images

Actor James Michael Tyler, best known for playing coffee shop boss Gunther in the sitcom Friends, has sadly died at the age of 59. He was diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer back in 2018.

The news was initially announced by Tyler's agent, who said that the on-screen legend passed away at home in Los Angeles on Sunday morning.

Additionally, the statement shared: "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. If you met him once you made a friend for life. 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."

Tyler's fellow cast mates from the hit series have now paid tribute to him through various social media posts.

Alongside a throwback clip from an episode where Gunther confesses his love for her character Rachel Green, Jennifer Aniston wrote to her 38 million followers on Instagram: "Friends would not have been the same without you. Thank you for the laughter you brought to the show and to all of our lives. You will be so missed #JamesMichaelTyler 💔

Courteney Cox, who played Monica Gellar in the show, shared a photo of James Michael Tyler in full character and said, "The size of gratitude you brought into the room and showed every day on set is the size of the gratitude I hold for having known you. Rest In peace James. ♥️"

Lisa Kudrow, another of the show's lead stars who played Phoebe Buffay, shared the same image as Cox and wrote, "James Michael Tyler, we will miss you. Thank you for being there for us all. #jamesmichealtyler"

Adding to the tributes, Matt LeBlanc (Joey Tribbiani) recalled how much fun it was to work with Tyler, posting on Instagram, "We had a lot of laughs buddy. You will be missed. RIP my friend."

Fellow cast mates, David Schwimmer (Ross Gellar) and Matthew Perry (who took a turn as Chandler Bing) have not yet commented publicly, but neither of them are especially active on social media.

Speaking back in June earlier this year, Tyler took part in an interview with NBC's Today show and discussed how his diagnosis almost three years prior had impacted him, along with undergoing chemotherapy.

He explained 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 added: "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."

Our thoughts are with all of James Michael Tyler's loved ones at this time.

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