‘Friends’ Stars Pay Tribute to James Michael Tyler (Gunther) Following His Recent Death at Age 59

Entertainment Tonight

When we think of the show “Friends,” we immediately picture the six actors who played Ross, Rachel, Monica, Joey, Phoebe and Chandler. However, there were other characters who were in almost every episode of the show.

Friends” wouldn’t be “Friends” without Central Perk, the coffee shop where Rachel worked for quite awhile, and Central Perk wouldn’t be Central Perk without Gunther.

The actor who played Gunther is James Michael Taylor. In 2018, he was diagnosed with prostate cancer. He didn’t tell the public about his diagnosis until June 2021. On TODAY, the actor explained, “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 (now). Late stage cancer. So eventually, you know, it’s gonna probably get me.” 

The cancer was manageable when he was first diagnosed, but during the pandemic, it spread. He explained, “I missed going in for a test, which was not a good thing, so the cancer decided to mutate at the time of the pandemic, and so it’s progressed.”

Taylor urged men to ask for a PSA test when they go in for a regular check-up. He said, “Next time you go in for just a basic exam or your yearly checkup, please ask your doctor for a PSA test. It’s easily detectable.”

Unfortunately, Taylor has lost his battle with cancer. He was 59 years old when he passed away on October 24, 2021. Watch the video below for more about how Taylor landed the role on “Friends” and his battle with prostate cancer.

The stars of “Friends” have been sharing kind words about their friend Taylor on social media.

Jennifer Aniston shared a clip from the show along with the text, “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.”


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Jennifer Aniston (@jenniferaniston)

Courtney Cox shared a picture of Taylor and 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.”


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Courteney Cox (@courteneycoxofficial)

Lisa Kudrow wrote, “James Michael Tyler, we will miss you. Thank you for being there for us all.”


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Lisa Kudrow (@lisakudrow)

Matt LeBlanc shared a picture from the set of “Friends,” and wrote, “We had a lot of laughs buddy. You will be missed. RIP my friend.”


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Matt LeBlanc (@mleblanc)