Tyler, who played Gunther on the NBC comedy, was first diagnosed in 2018
James Michael Tyler in 2014 (Photo by Paul Zimmerman/Getty Images)
“Friends” actor James Michael Tyler revealed Monday morning that he’s been battling Stage 4 prostate cancer since 2018.
“I was diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer, which had spread to my bones,” Tyler said on NBC’s “Today.” “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 after the first year of the diagnosis — during which he was on a hormone therapy that “worked amazingly for about a year” — the cancer spread to his bones and spine, leading to paraplegia. This happened right at the beginning of the pandemic, Tyler added.
“I missed going in for a test, which was not a good thing,” he said. “So the cancer decided to mutate at the time of the pandemic, and so it’s progressed.” Tyler said that he is currently undergoing chemotherapy, which is “aggressively” fighting the cancer.
On “Friends,” Tyler was known for playing Gunther, who manages the Central Perk coffee shop the group frequently visits. A running joke throughout the series was Gunther’s crush on Rachel (Jennifer Aniston) and his subsequent rivalry with Ross (David Schwimmer).
Tyler’s illness kept him from appearing in person on HBO Max’s “Friends” reunion special last month.
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