James Michael Tyler dies aged 59

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James Michael Tyler credit:Bang Showbiz
James Michael Tyler credit:Bang Showbiz

James Michael Tyler has died at the age of 59.

The actor, who famously played Gunther in the sitcom 'Friends', passed away peacefully at home in Los Angeles on Sunday (24.10.21) morning, a statement from his manager said.

James had been diagnosed with advance prostate cancer in 2018 which later spread to his bones.

His manager said: "If you met him once you made a friend for life. [He] is survived by his wife, Jennifer Carno, the love of his 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."

Tyler's 'Friends' alter ego worked as a waiter and manager in New York's Central Perk coffee house and remains a popular figure among fans of the comedy, despite not having as much a screen time as the six main cast members. His character had a crush on Jennifer Aniston's Rachel Green throughout the course of the show, which ran from 1994 to 2004.

James was absent from the 'Friends' reunion earlier this year and explained that he only appeared via Zoom as he didn't want to put a "downer" on the show by having to explain his illness.

He said: "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.'"

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