The ’Friends’ Cast Pays Tribute to James Michael Tyler Following His Passing

James Michael Tyler, best known for playing Gunther on the iconic sitcom Friends, passed away Sunday, October 24, following a battle with prostate cancer. He was 59 years old. 

“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,” reads a statement from Tyler’s representative, Toni Benson, according to CNN. 

Shortly after news of Tyler’s passing broke, the Friends cast posted tributes to him on social media. 

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

Courteney Cox wrote in her own post, “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. Rest in peace, James.” 

Matt LeBlanc shared a pic of himself and Tyler on the Friends set and wrote, “We had a lot of laughs, buddy. You will be missed. RIP, my friend.” 

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

David Schwimmer wrote on his Instagram, “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.” 

James Michael Tyler revealed his stage-four prostate cancer diagnosis in June 2021. “I was diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer, which had spread to my bones,” Tyler told Today.“I’ve been dealing with that diagnosis for almost the past three years…. It’s stage four. Late-stage cancer. So eventually, you know, it’s gonna probably get me.”

His medical situation was why he didn’t appear in person on the HBO Max Friends reunion, which premiered in May. “I wanted to be a part of that, and initially I was going to be on the stage, at least, with them, and be able to take part in all the festivities,” 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 wanna bring a downer on it, you know? …I didn’t want to be like, ‘Oh, and by the way, Gunther has cancer.’”

But through everything, Tyler remained optimistic and sought to bring light to others. “It’s made me, personally, just realize how important every moment is, every day,” the actor told Today. “And fighting. Don’t give up. Keep fighting. Keep yourself as light as possible. And have goals. Set goals. My goal this past year was to see my 59th birthday. I did that, May 28th. My goal now is to help save at least one life by coming out with this news.”

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