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James Michael Tyler, Gunther from Friends, Dead at 59

The actor had been battling prostate cancer

james michael taylor cancer gunther friends barista
Friends (NBC)
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    James Michael Tyler, who played Gunther on Friends, has died at the age fo 59 following a battle with prostate cancer.

    According to TMZ, Tyler passed away Sunday (October 24th) at his home in Los Angeles.

    “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 family said in a statement.

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    Tyler appeared on over one hundred episodes of Friends as well as on the recent reunion special. On the show he played Gunther, the manager of the coffee shop Central Perk. His character famously has a crush on Jennifer Aniston’s Rachel, who works as a waitress at Central Perk, but his feelings are not reciprocated. As such, Gunther frequently antagonizes Rachel’s boyfriends, including David Schwimmer’s Ross.

    Friends would not have been the same without you,” wrote Aniston in an Instagram post paying tribute to Tyler. “Thank you for the laughter you brought to the show and to all of our lives. You will be so missed.”

    Added Schwimmer, “James, thank you for playing such a wonderful, unforgettable role in Friends and for being such a big hearted gentleman and all around mensch off screen.
    You will be missed, buddy.”

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    During his decades-long acting career, Tyler also made cameo appearances on TV shows like Just Shoot Me, Scrubs, and Sabrina, the Teenage Witch.

    In July 2021, Tyler announced that he had been battling stage 4 prostate cancer since 2018. He encouraged men to get a PSA screening test, saying in a video message at the time, “I can tell you, you do not want to go through what I’ve had to go through the past two-and-a-half years… I wish I’d gone in earlier. It’s nobody’s fault, but yeah, if you want to stick around, get tested.”

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