Friends actor James Michael Tyler, who played Gunther, reveals stage 4 cancer diagnosis

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James Michael Tyler
James Michael Tyler
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  • Friends actor James Michael Tyler revealed on Monday that he has been "diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer, which had spread to my bones."
  • The actor is currently undergoing chemotherapy treatment.  
  • James said that it was his decision not the be join Friends reunion in-person, which aired on HBO Max last month, due to the extent of his condition. "I didn't wanna bring a downer on it, you know?" he said.

In an interview with TODAY on Monday, Friends actor James Michael Tyler revealed that he had been diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2018 and is currently undergoing chemotherapy. 

Tyler is known for playing Gunther, the manager of the Central Perk coffee house, in all 10 seasons of the NBC sitcom.

"I was diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer, which had spread to my bones," Tyler told TODAY's Craig Melvin. 

"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 went on to say.  According to James, because the cancer wasn't detected early, it spread more rapidly than usual. 

After initially treating the cancer with hormone therapy which allowed him to "go about life regularly," the cancer eventually spread to his bones and spine, leading to paralysis of his lower body. James said that he is currently undergoing chemotherapy. 

"Just finished chemo round 2 last week! Thank you all so much for your outpouring of love and support," he captioned an Instagram post on Monday, emphasising however, that early detection can "make a difference."

Although he initially wanted to appear in-person at the Friends reunion, which aired on HBO Max last month, James said: "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.'"

According to the actor, many of the show's cast and producers are aware of illness and have been supportive. 

"My goal this past year was to see my 59th birthday. I did that. My goal now is to help at least save one life," he went on to say. 

ALSO READ | The Friends reunion has one shocking revelation!

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