Friends star James Michael Tyler has passed away. The actor, who played the character of Gunther in the long-running TV sitcom, had been battling prostate cancer for a long time, according to reports.
Tyler's manager confirmed the news of his demise in a release that stated, "Tyler passed away peacefully at his home in Los Angeles on Sunday morning." The actor was 59-years-old.
When did Tyler open up about having cancer?
Earlier in June, during an interview with Craig Melvin, the actor had said that he was diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer, which had already spread to his bones. Due to his illness, Tyler couldn't attend the show's cast reunion in person. "I could not have imagined just a better experience. All these guys were fantastic and just a joy to work with," he said.
Friends producer Kevin Bright, co-star Jennifer Aniston pays tribute
After the news of Tyler's death spread, industry colleagues started paying tribute to the actor on social media. Kevin Bright took his Twitter and wrote, "He was an incredible person who spent his final days helping others. God bless you James, Gunther lives forever." Friends co-star Jennifer Aniston also penned a heartfelt tribute to the late actor alongside a clip from their show together.
Tyler's manager said, "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." While his co-star Courteney 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."
Tyler played the Friends' character Gunther for 10 years. Gunther was a manager cum waiter in the sitcom's coffee house, Central Perk. Throughout the show, he had a crush on Rachel (played by Aniston). Besides the sitcom Friends, Tyler had also featured in Scrubs, Sabrina the Teenage Witch. He also starred in BBC's Episodes. Tyler is survived by his second wife Jennifer Carno.