James Michael Tyler, Who Played Gunther On Friends, Has Died

No one wants to say goodbye to a friend — but on Sunday, October 24, actor James Michael Tyler, who is best known for his role as Gunther on "Friends," died at his home at age 59. His rep, Toni Benson, revealed in a statement to CNN:

"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."

"Warner Bros. Television mourns the loss of James Michael Tyler, a beloved actor and integral part of our 'Friends' family," the official "Friends" Twitter account posted on Sunday. "Our thoughts are with his family, friends, colleagues and fans."

The actor passed away at his Los Angeles home following a battle with prostate cancer. According to Benson, he was first diagnosed in 2018. In June, Tyler first revealed he was battling Stage 4 prostate cancer just days after his surprise appearance on the HBO Max "Friends" reunion special.

During his June appearance on the "Today Show," Tyler explained that his doctors discovered the cancer during a routine physical when he was 56. By the time of the interview, the cancer had spread to his bones, which had left him unable to walk. He also revealed that he had been treated with hormone therapy.

James Michael Tyler Will Be Missed — and He Leaves a Legacy

Tyler was definitely best known for playing Gunther — the manager of the Central Perk coffee shop, and Rachel's (Jennifer Aniston) not-so-secret admirer — for all 10 seasons of the '90s comedy's run. However, he also appeared in tons of other TV shows over the years, including "Sabrina the Teenage Witch," "Scrubs," and "Modern Music."

But his impact on the legendary sitcom that made him a household name is undeniable. "Friends" co-creators Marta Kauffman and David Crane told CNN that Tyler was a "genuinely kind, sweet man" in a statement following his death.

"When he started as an extra on 'Friends,' his unique spirit caught our eye and we knew we had to make him a character," their statement read. "He made Gunther's unrequited love incredibly relatable. Our heart goes out to his wife, Jennifer Carno."

During the reunion special, Tyler was especially vocal about his positive experience on the beloved show. "It was the most memorable 10 years of my life, honestly," the actor explained at the time. "I could not have imagined just a better experience. All these guys were fantastic. It was just a joy to work with them. I felt very, very special."