• Wed. Dec 8th, 2021

James Michael Tyler dead from cancer latest – Family & wife mourn loss of beloved actor who played Gunther on Friends

Oct 25, 2021

JAMES Michael Tyler has died at 59 years old.

The beloved actor was known for his role as Gunther on the hit show Friends.

He passed away at his home in Los Angeles.

James' family released a statement which read: "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."

Read our live blog below for the latest on James Michael Tyler's passing…

  • Danielle Cinone

    WHAT DID THE STATEMENT FROM HIS FAMILY SAY?

    Tyler’s family issued a statement following the star’s death.

    It said: “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.

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

    The statement concluded: “If you met him once you made a friend for life.”

  • Danielle Cinone

    WHAT WAS THE CAUSE OF TYLER’S DEATH?

    James Michael Tyler died after battling stage 4 prostate cancer.

    The Friends star died at his home in Los Angeles.

    The actor who played Gunther in the hit comedy series was 59.

  • Jon Rogers

    THE CANCER SPREAD DURING THE PANDEMIC

    Tyler told Today that the cancer eventually spread to his bones and spine, leading to paraplegia, or paralysis of the lower body.

    Tyler said that the cancer mutated "right at the time of the pandemic."

    "I missed going in for a test, which was not a good thing," Tyler said. "So the cancer decided to mutate at the time of the pandemic, and so it's progressed."

    He then started undergoing chemotherapy.

  • Jon Rogers

    MORE ON TYLER'S BATTLE WITH CANCER

    He was referred to Dr. Matthew Rettig, a research scientist and oncologist at UCLA, according to his interview with Today.

    Tyler started hormone therapy, which he said "worked amazingly for about a year," allowing him to "go about life regularly" while taking a regimen of three drugs.

    "All I had to do was take a pill in the morning and the night, and boom, life was pretty much normal," said Tyler.

    "I was feeling fine, honestly. I had no symptoms, I didn't feel any symptoms. And it was very easy to regulate."

  • Jon Rogers

    WHAT DID TYLER SAY ABOUT HIS CANCER?

    James Michael Tyler spoke to Today about his cancer battle, saying it had first been detected during an annual check-up.

    "I was diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer, which had spread to my bones," Tyler said. "I've been dealing with that diagnosis for almost the past three years. … It's stage 4 (now). Late stage cancer. So eventually, you know, it's gonna probably get me."

    "I was 56 years old at the time, and they screen for PSA, which is prostate-specific antigen," Tyler explained. "That came back at an extraordinarily high number… So I knew immediately when I went online and I saw the results of my blood test and blood work that there was obviously something quite wrong there.

    "Nearly immediately, my doctor called me and said 'Hey, I need you to come in tomorrow because I suspect that you may have quite a serious problem with your prostate.'"

  • Jon Rogers

    WHAT TV SHOWS DID TYLER APPEAR IN?

    While James Michael Tyler found fame as Gunther in Friends he also had a number of other TV roles.

    He appeared 148 times in Friends over its ten-year run.

    Tyler also had roles in Just Shoot Me!; Sabrina the Teenage Witch, Scrubs, Episodes and Modern Music.

    His last TV appearance was early this year for the HBO Friends special.

  • Jon Rogers

    TRIBUTES CONTINUE TO FLOOD IN

    Tributes have continued to flood in on social media sites as fans mourn the death of James Michael Tyler.

    One Twitter user wrote: "Sad to hear this news. I absolutely loved Gunther! One of my favorite characters on the show. Rest well."

    Another said: "Rest in peace James Michael Tyler, thank you for the laughs as Gunther."

    A third added: "So sad to hear about the death of James Michael Tyler. RIP knowing that you brought a lot of joy to a lot of people playing Gunther on Friends."

  • Jon Rogers

    WATCH ONE OF GUNTHER'S FUNNIEST MOMENTS

    Tyler, in his role of Gunther struggles to pluck up the courage to ask Rachel Green, played by Jennifer Aniston, out on a date.

    A classic moment from the iconic sitcom which is still fondly remembered by fans.

    Gunther tries to pluck up the courage to ask Rachel out legendary US sitcom Friends

  • Jon Rogers

    TYLER THANKED FANS FOR SUPPORT

    On his Instagram, the Friends star announced he had "finished" his second round of chemotherapy since "last week."

    James gave a thumbs-up while sitting in his chair.

    In the caption of his snap, he wrote: "Thank you all so much for your outpouring of love and support. It means the world to me.

    "Early detection can make all the difference."

    Friends star Gunther actor James Michael Tyler reveals he’s battling stage 4 prostate cancer and is paralysed

  • Jon Rogers

    WHAT WAS TYLER'S NET WORTH?

    According to Celebrity Net Worth, James was worth around $4million.

    It's reported he earned around $5K per episode on the first season of Friends, with the rate increasing to $10K per episode by the second season.

    During seasons three and four, he reportedly made $20K per episode.

    For the remainder of the series, James reportedly made between $30-40K per episode.

  • Jon Rogers

    WARNER BROS PAYS TRIBUTE

    The official Twitter page of Friends passed on a message from Warner Bros Television.

    It said: "Warner Bros. Television mourns the loss of James Michael Tyler, a beloved actor and integral part of our FRIENDS family. Our thoughts are with his family, friends, colleagues and fans."

  • Jon Rogers

    'SEVENTH FRIEND'

    Many fans dubbed Tyler's character Gunther as the "seventh friend" due to his

    ubiquity on the series.

    While he was frequently seen milling about behind the counter at Central Perk and developing his crush on Jennifer Aniston's character Rachel Green, Gunther was also given plenty of his own memorable lines over the 10-year run of Friends.

  • Jon Rogers

    WHEN DID TYLER JOIN FRIENDS?

    In 1994, James was cast as Gunther on Friends, where he starred in over 148 episodes.

    He was the most-shown recurring character on the show.

    James appeared in multiple television shows over the years, including Sabrina the Teenage Witch and iCarly.

    Tyler landed the role of Gunther in the sitcom in 1994
  • Jon Rogers

    WHO WAS JAMES MICHAEL TYLER?

    Born on May 28, 1962, James Michael Tyler was an American actor.

    He was born in Greenswood, Mississippi, the youngest of five children.

    After earning his two-year degree from Anderson University, James went on to finish schooling at Clemson University, where he graduated in 1984 with a degree in geology.

    During his time at school, James became involved in a theatre group, The Clemson Players.

    In 1987, he ended up receiving his Masters in Fine Arts from the University of Georgia.

    The following year, James moved to Los Angeles, where he started working as a production assistant.

  • Jon Rogers

    WHAT DID TYLER SAY ABOUT FRIENDS?

    Due to his illness Tyler appeared by Zoom video in HBO's Friends: The Reunion Special.

    It was his first official reunion with all of his co-stars.

    "It was the most memorable 10 years of my life, honestly," he said of the show. "I could not have imagined just a better experience. All these guys were fantastic and just a joy to work with. It felt very, very special."

  • Jon Rogers

    WHAT DID TYLER SAY ABOUT HIS CONDITION?

    Tyler spoke about his prostate cancer on on NBC's Today show.

    He told TV host Craig Melvin: "‘I was diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer, which had spread to my bones.

    "I’ve been dealing with that diagnosis for almost the past three years. It’s stage 4 (now). Late stage cancer. So eventually, you know, it’s gonna probably get me."

    Tyler said that he missed an appointment during the Covid-19 pandemic and the cancer started mutating.

    He explained: 'I missed going in for a test, which was not a good thing.

    "The cancer decided to mutate at the time of the pandemic and so it's progressed."

    Tyler as Gunther with David Schwimmer as Ross Geller in The One Where Emma Cries
  • Jon Rogers

    FANS PAY TRIBUTE TO STAR

    Social media has been swamped with well-wishers paying tribute to the actor.

    In one poignant message, a fan wrote: "Rachel’s final words to Gunther came to mind when I read this sad news tonight. “When I'm in a café, having coffee, or I see a man with hair brighter than the sun, I'll think of you" Rest in Peace James Michael Tyler."

    Another said on Twitter: "Rest in peace James Micheal Tyler. Thank you for filling my life with so much laughter, you’ll live on in Gunther forever. You’re gonna be so missed."

    A third added: "RIP Gunther. The most underrated sitcom actor of all time."

  • Jon Rogers

    WHAT ELSE DID TYLER APPEAR IN?

    He starred in two short films – The Gesture and the Word, and Processing, which gained him a number of best actor awards at a variety of film festivals.

    In 2021, his spoken word performance of Stephen Kalinich's poem If You Knew was adapted into a short video to raise awareness for the Prostate Cancer Foundation, the BBC reports.

  • Jon Rogers

    WAS TYLER MARRIED?

    Tyler was married to Jennifer Carno.

    His manager described her as "the love of life" while saying he was a "loving husband".

    James Michael Tyler with his wife Jennifer Carno
  • Jon Rogers

    CANCER-AWARENESS ADVOCATE

    Having gone public with the news of his prostate cancer Tyler become a strong cancer-awareness advocate.

    "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," his manager said.

    "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", his manager said.

  • Jon Rogers

    WHAT WAS TYLER'S ROLE IN FRIENDS?

    Tyler played the waiter and manager of the coffee shop Central Perk where the six main characters would often meet up.

    While he wasn't a central character to the show he became a regular feature and was much-loved by the fans.

    Over the course of the long-running sitcom he developed a crush on Rachel, played by Jennifer Aniston, who had worked there during the early episodes of the show.

    James Michael Tyler attends the Central Perk Pop-Up Celebrating The 20th Anniversary Of Friends on September 16, 2014 in New York City
  • Jon Rogers

    WHEN WAS TYLER DIAGNOSED WITH PROSTATE CANCER?

    Tyler was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2018.

    He kept his diagnosis a secret though until earlier this year.

    Tyler became a household name to millions of Friends fans due to his role of Gunther who was a regular character in the sitcom.

  • Jon Rogers

    WHAT DID THE STATEMENT FROM HIS FAMILY SAY?

    Tyler's family issued a statement following the star's death.

    It said: "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.

    "Michael loved live music, cheering on his Clemson Tigers, and would often find himself in fun and unplanned adventures.

    The statement concluded: "If you met him once you made a friend for life."

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