James Michael Tyler best known as Gunther in Friends has died aged 59 from prostate cancer

Affectionately dubbed the 'Seventh Friend,' due to his witty remarks and crush on Rachel, tributes have poured in for the actor who played Gunther.

By Sarah McCann, Search and Trends Writer
Monday, 25th October 2021, 3:17 pm
Updated Monday, 25th October 2021, 3:18 pm

James Michael Tyler, best known for his role as Gunther in Friends has died at the age of 59 from prostate cancer.

Tyler's agent broke the news, confirming the actor had "passed away peacefully at his home in Los Angeles on Sunday morning".

His statement 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. 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."

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Tyler was noticeably missing from the Friends Reunion special in May 2021, appearing instead via video chat.

Speaking in June 2021 to NBC's Today Show, he opened up about his cancer diagnosis and confirmed that the disease had spread to other parts of his body and left him unable to walk.

"I was diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer, which had spread to my bones. I’ve been dealing with that diagnosis for almost the past three years... it's stage 4. Late stage cancer. So eventually, you know, it's gonna probably get me," he said.

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The 'Seventh Friend'

The cynical manager of the gang's favourite coffee shop Central Perk, Gunther was often known as the 'seventh friend.'

He featured in 150 episodes across 10 series and was a firm favourite amongst fans.

Memorable moments with his quick witted remarks include when he bought Rachel's cat Mrs Whiskerson, asking Ross,

“So what is this? Some kind of snake or something?”

Another of Gunther's funniest quotes came from the episode, The One With Joey's Porsche.

When Joey discovers a set of Porsche keys he asks Gunther if they belong to him, Gunter replies: “Yes, that’s what I drive. I make four bucks an hour. I saved up for 350 years.”

After ten series Gunther finally confessed his love to Rachel much to fans' delight.

Rachel let him down saying, “Gunther. Oh, I love you too. Probably not in the same way, but I do. And when I’m in a café, having coffee, or I see a man with hair brighter than the sun, I’ll think of you.”

Jennifer Anniston has since shared the moving scene as a tribute to James Michael Tyler.

Friends stars touching tributes

Friends stars took to social media to share touching tributes to their former colleagues.

Jennifer Aniston who played Rachel said the show "would not have been the same" without Tyler's performance as the Central Perk waiter.

"Thank you for the laughter you brought to the show and to all of our lives. You will be so missed," she said.

Courtney Cox, who played Monica, said "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."

Lisa Kudrow, who played Phoebe shared, "James Michael Tyler, we will miss you. Thank you for being there for us all."

Matt LeBlanc who played Joey, shared a photo of his character Joey chatting to Gunther in Central Perk and said, "We had a lot of laughs buddy," LeBlanc posted. "You will be missed. RIP my friend."

David Schwimmer, who played Ross, thanked Tyler "for playing such a wonderful, unforgettable role" and "for being such a big hearted gentleman and all around mensch off screen".

Matthew Perry who played Chandler has not shared a tribute as of yet on social media, but is known for not being active on social media.

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