It’s a sad day for longtime Friends fans. According to CNN, James Michael Tyler (Episodes) who is best known for his role as Rachel’s Central Perk boss, Gunther, has just announced his stage four cancer diagnosis.
Tyler has been battling prostate cancer since 2018. The actor stated that he received his diagnosis during a routine physical where his doctors informed him he had “advanced prostate cancer, which had spread to [his] bones” (CNN).
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
Despite not being able to appear in-person at the HBO Max Friends reunion special, Tyler didn’t let his diagnosis stop him from dropping by the reunion via Zoom. When speaking about whether or not the producers and cast of Friends knew about his diagnosis, Tyler noted that the producers of the series had known about his cancer battle “for a long time” (CNN).
In addition to the creative executives from Friends, David Schwimmer (Six Days Seven Nights), who played Ross on the 90s sitcom, reached out to Tyler after hearing about his diagnosis. During his sobering interview with the Today Show, Tyler stated “of course, it’s stage 4. Late-stage cancer. So eventually, you know, it’s gonna probably get me,” but continued to promote early detection and screenings for other (CNN). Tyler admitted his “wonderful wife” had insisted on seeing a doctor sooner, and he now regrets not listening to her sooner.
According to CNN, before ending his interview, Tyler spoke directly to viewers, insisting to “ask your doctor for a PSA (prostate-specific antigen) test” next time they go in for an examination or check-up, adding that “caught early (it is) 99% treatable”.