American actor James Michael Tyler, famous for his role as Gunther in Friends, has died at the age of 59.
Tyler died peacefully at his Los Angeles home on Sunday morning, a statement from his manager said.
“If you’ve met him once you’ve made a friend for life,” he said. “[He] leaves his wife, Jennifer Carno, the love of his life “.
Tyler was diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer in 2018 which later spread to his bones.
“Wanting to help as many people as possible, he bravely shared his story and became an activist for people with a prostate to get a … blood test as early as 40,” his manager said.
- 11 of Gunther’s best moments on Friends
While he didn’t have the same amount of screen time as the six main characters in Friends, Gunther was and remains a popular figure with fans.
Gunther worked as a waiter and manager in the show’s café, Central Perk.
She had a crush on Jennifer Anniston’s character Rachel throughout the series, who also worked there as a waitress in the show’s early seasons.
“The world knew him as Gunther (the seventh friend) … but his loved ones knew him as an actor, musician, cancer advocate and loving husband,” said his manager.
In May, Tyler made a brief appearance on the Friends reunion special last month via Zoom.
“It was the most memorable 10 years of my life, honestly,” the actor said at the time of the show.
“I couldn’t have imagined a better experience,” he said. “All these guys have been fantastic and it was a joy to work with them. It was very, very special.”
During the treatment, Michael continued to perform.
He starred in two short films – Gesture and Speech, and Processing – winning Best Actor awards at various film festivals.
In 2021, his oral performance of Stephen Kalinich’s poem If You Knew was adapted into a short video to raise awareness of the Prostate Cancer Foundation.
- Los Angeles
- United States
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