Goodbye Gunther | Friends stars pay tribute as James Michael Tyler dies at 59

Goodbye Gunther

Friends stars pay tribute as James Michael Tyler dies at 59

James Michael Tyler, who played Central Perk barista Gunther in Friends has died aged 59.

The news comes four months after the actor revealed he had stage 4 prostate cancer, which had been diagnosed in 2018.

‘The world knew him as Gunther (the seventh Friend). but Michael’s loved ones knew him as an actor, musician, cancer-awareness advocate, and loving husband,’ his family said in a statement.

‘Michael loved live music, cheering on his Clemson Tigers [college America football team], and would often find himself in fun and unplanned adventures. If you met him once you made a friend for life.’

‘Wanting to help as many people as possible, he bravely shared his story and became a campaigner for those with a prostate to get a... blood test as early as 40 years old.’

His sitcom co-stars Jennifer Aniston, Matt LeBlanc, Courteney Cox and Lisa Kurdow were among those paying tribute.

Aniston, who played Gunther’s unrequited love interest Rachel, said on Instagram: ‘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.’

LeBlanc said: ‘James Michael Tyler, we will miss you. Thank you for being there for us all," Kudrow wrote on Instagram, while LeBlanc said: "We had a lot of laughs buddy. You will be missed. RIP my friend.’

Cox wrote: ‘The size of gratitude you brought into the room and showed every day on set is the size of the gratitude I hold for having known you. Rest In peace James.’

Kudrow added: ‘James Michael Tyler, we will miss you. Thank you for being there for us all.’

Poor health meant Tyler did not take part in the Friends reunion earlier this year but he did appear via Zoom.

Tyler also appeared in Sabrina the Teenage Witch, Scrubs and an episode of Episodes, again opposite LeBlanc.

He is survived by his wife, Jennifer Carno.

At this year’s Edinburgh Fringe, performer Brendan Murphy  performed a one-man show reimagining the sitcom entirely from  Gunther’s point of view.

Published: 25 Oct 2021

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