Gunther From The Hit TV Show ‘Friends’ Passes Away At 59

gunther friends

James Michael Tyler, an actor admired for his role of Gunther on the renowned sitcom Friends, died of prostate cancer on Sunday morning, his manager confirmed to Variety. He was 59.

Tyler died peacefully in his Los Angeles home. The actor had been diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer in September 2018. Earlier this year, Tyler shared his story as he became a campaigner for individuals with prostates to get a first blood test as early as 40 years old.

Image: Instagram

“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,” his manager wrote in a tribute. “Michael loved live music, cheering on his Clemson Tigers, and would often find himself in fun and unplanned adventures.”

The Friends’ cast pays tribute to Gunther

“Friends would not have been the same without you,” expressed Jennifer Aniston. “Thank you for the laughter you brought to the show and to all of our lives. You will be so missed.”

Courtney Cox also took to Instagram to pay her condolences. “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. “Rest In peace James.”

“We had a lot of laughs buddy,” wrote Matt LeBlanc. “You will be missed. RIP my friend.”

“James Michael Tyler, we will miss you,” said Lisa Kudrow. “Thank you for being there for us all.”

Tyler was most well-known for his performance as Gunther, a worker at the Central Perk cafe who reserves an unrequited love for Jennifer Aniston’s Rachel, on NBC’s sitcom Friends. Dubbed by fans as “the seventh ‘Friend,” the actor was a series mainstay, first appearing in the second episode of the award-winning show and returning as a guest star across the remainder of its 10-year run. He is the most frequently appearing recurring guest star across the series.

Besides Friends, Tyler’s acting credits stretch back to 1992, including series like Sabrina the Teenage Witch, Scrubs and Modern Music. 

While undergoing treatment, he continued to perform, starring in two short films – The Gesture and the Word and Processing – and earning best-actor awards at various domestic and international film festivals. Tyler will certainly be missed.

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