Friends’ Gunther Actor James Michael Tyler Reveals Cancer Diagnosis

22 June 2021, 16:00

James Michael Tyler revealed his cancer kept him from attending the Friends reunion
James Michael Tyler revealed his cancer kept him from attending the Friends reunion. Picture: Getty/@slate_michael/Instagram
Capital FM

By Capital FM

James Michael Tyler, who played Gunther on sitcom Friends, has opened up about having prostate cancer.

Friends actor James Michael Tyler, who famously portrayed Gunther on the series, has revealed his battle with prostate cancer.

The 59-year-old told US’ Today show that in 2018 he was diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer which had spread to his bones.

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He told host Craig Melvin that the illness had been found during an annual routine checkup and had not been caught early, which meant it had reached other parts of his body.

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

Gunther's character was known for owning Central Perk and having a crush on Rachel Green
Gunther's character was known for owning Central Perk and having a crush on Rachel Green. Picture: YouTube

He continued: “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 explained that he had been placed on hormone therapy that ‘worked amazingly’ for a year or so, before revealing that unfortunately, the cancer mutated ‘right at the time of the pandemic’.

The spread of the illness affected his spine, which led to paralysis of his lower body. He is currently undergoing chemotherapy.

James Michael Tyler opened up about his battle with stage 4 cancer
James Michael Tyler opened up about his battle with stage 4 cancer. Picture: @slate_michael/Instagram
James Michael Tyler played Gunther on Friends
James Michael Tyler played Gunther on Friends. Picture: Getty

James went on to explain that the illness kept him from attending the Friends reunion last month, which is why he joined via Zoom, adding: “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.

“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.'"

He concluded his interview by urging men to get screened as he’s hoping to ‘save just one life’, adding: “That's my only reason for coming out like this and letting people know, that's my new role."

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