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James Michael Tyler, who played Gunther on Friends, dies

·2-min read
Actor James Michael Tyler - NBCUniversal
Actor James Michael Tyler - NBCUniversal

James Michael Tyler, best known for playing Gunther in the television comedy Friends, has died aged 59 after a long battle against cancer.

He was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2018, with the disease spreading.

Following the diagnosis, the actor became a campaigner urging men to get screening blood tests as early as 40.

His character in Friends ran the Central Perk coffee house, where the characters spent most of their time.

Jennifer Aniston shared a post on Instagram to paying tribute to her Friends co-starwhich included a photo of Tyler from the set and a clip of the pair in the final episode as Gunther declares his love for Rachel before being let down gently.

"Friends would not have been the same without you," the 52-year-old wrote in the post's caption.

"Thank you for the laughter you brought to the show and to all of our lives. You will be so missed."

Co-star Courteney Cox posted the same photo of Tyler in a pink-striped collared shirt and tie to express her "gratitude" to her former co-star.

Cox wrote: "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."

The actor’s death, at home in Los Angeles, was announced by his publicist.

James Michael Tyler as Gunther, David Schwimmer as Ross Geller - NBCUniversal
James Michael Tyler as Gunther, David Schwimmer as Ross Geller - NBCUniversal

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,” Tyler’s family said in a statement to the outlet.

“Michael loved live music, cheering on his Clemson Tigers, and would often find himself in fun and unplanned adventures. If you met him once you made a friend for life.”

Because of his illness, Tyler was unable to attend the Friends reunion earlier this year, instead making an appearance by Zoom.

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