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The Cast of Friends Pays Tribute to Gunther Actor James Michael Tyler

Photo: NBC

James Michael Tyler, the actor who played Gunther, the scene-stealing manager of coffee shop Central Perk in Friends, has died at the age of 59. He had been diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer in 2018. “Tyler passed away peacefully at his home in Los Angeles on Sunday morning,” his manager said in a statement. “If you met him once, you made a friend for life. [He] is survived by his wife, Jennifer Carno, the love of his 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. 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.”

In May of this year, Tyler made an appearance on Friends: The Reunion via Zoom, describing his time working on the hit show as “the most memorable 10 years of my life”. The following month, he opened up about his health on NBC’s The Today Show. “I wanted to be a part of [the reunion] and initially I was going to be on the stage with them,” he said. “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 want to bring a downer on it, you know? I didn’t want to be like, ‘Oh, and by the way, Gunther has cancer.’”

Upon hearing the news, his cast mates – from Matt LeBlanc and Lisa Kudrow to Jennifer Aniston, on whose character, Rachel, Gunther had a long-running crush – shared personal tributes on social media.


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