Beloved Friends actor James Michael Tyler, best known for playing Gunther on the series, has passed away at age 59.
According to TMZ, who was first to report the news, Tyler passed away on Oct. 24 following his battle with stage 4 prostate cancer. News of Tyler’s passing comes roughly four months after he opened up about his cancer diagnosis earlier this year following the release of HBO Max’s highly anticipated reunion special.
As it was revealed at the time, Tyler was diagnosed with cancer back in 2018 but ultimately chose to keep his diagnosis private this year when questions began swirling as to why he was not among the celebrities to attend the Friends reunion in person.
In a statement released to TMZ by Tyler’s family, the late actor’s family honored the late actor by celebrating his many accomplishments which also include work as a musician and cancer-awareness advocate.
"“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. If you met him once you made a friend for life.”"
Tyler is best known for his role as Central Perk manager and frequent scene-stealer Gunther, a role he held across Friends‘ ten-season run. Tyler is credited for appearing in 150 episodes of the series across its ten seasons, the most episodes for any actor outside of the show’s core six — an accomplishment that led Tyler’s Gunter as frequently being referred to as the “seventh friend.”
In addition to his role on Friends, Tyler also appeared in several beloved series including Sabrina the Teenage Witch and Scrubs. His final acting credit — sans his guest appearance in the Friends HBO Max reunion special — was in the 2020 short The Gesture and The Word.