His co-stars from 'Friends' paid tribute to the actor after he passed away from prostate cancer on Sunday.
James Michael Tyler, best known for his role as Gunther, the coffee shop manager, on Friends has passed away at the age of 59. He was a recurring actor on the iconic 90s TV show for ten seasons, also playing Rachel's admirer throughout the show. Tyler's representative Toni Benson said the actor had passed away peacefully at his home on Sunday. Benson said the actor's talents and achievements went beyond the role of Gunther that he continues to be most associated with. "The world knew him as Gunther (the seventh "Friend"), from the hit series Friends, but Michael's loved ones knew him as an actor, musician, cancer-awareness advocate, and loving husband," said Benson in a statement, reported CNN.
Benson stated that Tyler was first diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2018. He passed away at his Los Angeles home following a battle with prostate cancer. "Michael loved live music, cheering on his Clemson Tigers, and would often find himself in fun and unplanned adventures. If you met him once you made a friend for life," read the statement. Tyler also starred in roles in other shows including Scrubs, Modern Music, and Sabrina the Teenage Witch.
The stars of Friends led the tributes to the actor. "Friends would not have been the same without you," wrote Aniston on Instagram alongside a clip of her and Tyler from the sitcom. "Thank you for the laughter you brought to the show and to all of our lives. You will be so missed." Aniston, who played Rachel, whom Gunther admired, posted the clip of the coffee shop manager confessing his feelings for her. Courtney Cox, who played Monica in the show, also took to Instagram to pay tribute to her former co-star. "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," she wrote.
Our unforgettable Gunther! We'll love you forever! Sending love to James Michael Tyler's family and friends. pic.twitter.com/iVy4lPX7Ol— Maria Luísa (@maluumedeiros_) October 24, 2021
Lisa Kudrow wrote on Instagram, "James Michael Tyler, we will miss you. Thank you for being there for us all." While Le Blanc added, "We had a lot of laughs buddy. You will be missed. RIP my friend," along with a screenshot of Gunther and Joey at Central Perk." Tyler first revealed he was battling Stage 4 prostate cancer in June. He said that the doctors had discovered his cancer during a routine physical when he was 56. The cancer had spread to his bones leaving him unable to walk. He had undergone hormone therapy. According to Mayo Clinic, prostate cancer is one of the most common types of cancer and the second-biggest cause of cancer death for men in the United States. There are different types of prostate cancer that grow, with some growing slowly and may need minimal or even no treatment, while others are aggressive and can spread quickly.
For the fans of Friends, Gunther will always remain the manager of the Central Perk coffee shop. Tyler was simply an extra on friends but fans endeared to his character which saw him becoming a fixture on the show and in the coffee shop. "When he started as an extra on 'Friends,' his unique spirit caught our eye and we knew we had to make him a character," said Friends co-creators Marta Kauffman and David Crane in a statement. "He made Gunther's unrequited love incredibly relatable. Our heart goes out to his wife, Jennifer Carno." They also described him as a "genuinely kind, sweet man."
Warner Bros. Television also released a statement, tweeting that it "mourns the loss of James Michael Tyler, a beloved actor and integral part of our FRIENDS family." The Twitter account dedicated to "Friends" tweeted, "Our thoughts are with his family, friends, colleagues, and fans."