James Michael Tyler

Twitter

James Michael Tyler, most widely known for his role as Gunther on the NBC sitcom Friends, passed away at the age of 59 over the weekend.


News of the actor's passing broke Sunday after Kevin Bright, a former producer of Friends, made an announcement on Twitter. He passed away peacefully on Sunday in the comfort of his L.A. home.

The actor had been battling stage 4 prostate cancer, which he had made known to the public back in June. Since then, he had become an advocate for men to get blood tests to screen for prostate cancer. According to his representative Toni Benson, Tyler was originally diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2018.

Tyler leaves behind his loving wife, Jennifer Carno, who Benson called 'the love of his life'.

Tyler's character on Friends, as fans would remember as Gunther, became recognized as the seventh honorary friend of the group. Manager of the Central Perk coffee shop, Gunther was more so known for his admiration for Rachel--a quite unrequited, yet absolutely hilarious relationship.

In addition to his 10-season run on Friends, Tyler also had notable roles in Srcubs, Modern Music, and Sabrina the Teenage Witch.

Tyler was able to participate virtually for the Friends Reunion, which aired on HBO Max earlier this year. Tyler told Today back in June that 'it was very bittersweet' and that he was 'very happy to be included'. Tyler also disclosed that his former coworkers from Friends were aware of the severity of his diagnosis, including other Friends actor, David Schwimmer.

Multiple costars, organizations, and other individuals from the television industry have begun making public statements about the actor's passing.

On Sunday, Warner Bros. Television tweeted that they 'mourn the loss of James Michael Tyler', noting him to be a 'beloved actor and integral part of our FRIENDS family'. His former Friends costars took to social media to share their condolences as well.

Sharing a throwback to the awkward relationship Gunther and Rachel had, Jennifer Aniston posted on Instagram to pay her respect for the late actor.

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.

Courteney Cox also took to Instagram to mourn the loss of Tyler.

The size of gratitude you brought into the room and showed every day on set is the size of gratitude I hold for having known you. Rest in peace James.

Also posting his tribute on Instagram, Matt LeBlanc shared another highlight of the two acting together on Friends. In his caption, LeBlanc wrote

We had a lot of laughs buddy. You will be missed. RIP my friend.

Reflecting on his eventful career, we have our own remembrance of Tyler as we interviewed him for a BTS of the Friends pop-up event back in New York in 2019. Our correspondent Josh McBride had the opportunity to speak with Tyler, reviewing how his role as Gunther was originally intended as a background character, however his role expanded as the show progressed.

In the interview, Tyler noted how the show's popularity definitely stemmed from the on-and-off-screen chemistry the cast shared. Tyler even remarked that the cast was "like a family."

Tyler undoubtedly left a positive impact on his costars and everyone else who surrounded his life. Rest in peace, Michael James Tyler.

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