Friends actor James Michael Tyler, who played Gunther, reveals cancer diagnosis

The actor said the Friends cast already knew about his diagnosis before the reunion

The actor played Gunther in the hit sitcom.
The actor played Gunther in the hit sitcom.

Friends actor James Michael Tyler has revealed that he is ill with prostate cancer, which has spread to his bones.

The star played coffee shop employee Gunther in hit sitcom Friends, and opened up about his cancer diagnosis and treatment on the American ‘Today’ show.

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Speaking on the show, Tyler said:

“I was diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer, which had spread to my bones.

‘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.”

He made reference to the recent Friends reunion, saying that the cast already knew about his illness.

“I wanted to be a part of that, and initially I was going to be on the stage, at least, with them, and be able to take part in all the festivities,” he said.

‘It was bittersweet, honestly. I was very happy to be included. It was my decision not to be a part of that physically and make an appearance on Zoom, basically, because I didn’t wanna bring a downer on it, you know? … I didn’t want to be like, “Oh, and by the way, Gunther has cancer.”‘

Tyler explained that the diagnosis happened in 2018 after an annual checkup.

He recalled: ‘I was 56 years old at the time, and they screen for PSA which is prostate-specific antigen. That came back at an extraordinarily high number … So I knew immediately when I went online and I saw the results of my blood test and blood work that there was obviously something quite wrong there.

‘Nearly immediately, my doctor called me and said “Hey, I need you to come in tomorrow because I suspect that you may have quite a serious problem with your prostate.”‘

Tyler was diagnosed with stage 4 prostate cancer and began treatment.

The actor is currently undergoing chemotherapy to fight the cancer.