Actor James Michael Tyler, known for his popular character Gunther in the American comedy sitcom Friends is no more. Tyler, 59, died of prostate cancer, announced his manager on October 24 in a statement.
In an interview with NBC in June 2021, Tyler had announced that he had stage 4 prostate cancer, which was diagnosed in 2018.
The 'seventh friend' Gunther worked with Rachel (Jennifer Aniston) at Central Perk as the cafe manager and had a soft corner for her.
Reacting to his sudden demise, his Friends co-star took to her Instagram account to thank him for all the laughter he brought to the show and her life.
"Friends would not have been the same without you. Thank you for the laughter you brought to the show and to all of our lives. You will be so missed #JamesMichaelTyler."
In May, Tyler had appeared on Friends: The Reunion but was unable to attend in person due to his health issues. Appearing instead via Zoom, he had said: "It was the most memorable 10 years of my life, honestly. I could not have imagined just a better experience. All these guys were fantastic and just a joy to work with. It felt very, very special," mentioned a report by The Guardian.
Apart from acting in Friends, Tyler also appeared on American television shows Sabrina the Teenage Witch and Scrubs and Hollywood films The Disturbance at Dinner Film, Jason's Big Problem, and Foreign Correspondents according to IMDB.
Tyler's family, in a statement, revealed that the late actor was so much more than Gunther, his screen identity.
"The world knew him as Gunther ... 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," the statement published by The Guardian read.
Tyler's latest work, a short film titled The Gesture And The Word', directed by Helen Alexis Yonov had received critical acclaim across short film festivals including the best actor award at Birmingham Film Festival, Short Stop International Film Festival, and 10th Bangalore Shorts Film Festival for the late actor James Michael Tyler.
Upon hearing the news of his demise, Yonov wrote: "We are devastated at the loss of James Michael Tyler... I am blessed to call Michael one of my best friends and one of the best people I have ever met. I am devastated and I will forever miss him. I remember the joy, laughs, tears, love... and I am thankful that he has found peace. He is and will always be one of the most decent, caring, loving, and loyal people that I have ever met. I'm proud to call him my friend. I'm proud to have been called his. Sleep, my dearest. Until we meet again."
After his death, Tyler's last post on Instagram, recitation of Stephen John Kalinich's poem 'If You Knew' has received quite a few views and tributary messages.
The post put out 14 weeks ago read, "A few years ago I appeared on my friend Stephen J. Kalinich's album Be Still performing his poem 'If You Knew'. Al Gomes, Connie Watrous, Alan Boyd, and Tim Labonte came together to create this brand new video for the piece. All streaming proceeds will be donated to @prostatecancerfoundation." He had also mentioned that his PSA was decreasing which meant the chemo was working.