James Michael Tyler: Gunther from 'Friends' reveals he is paralyzed with stage 4 cancer

James Michael Tyler mentioned that his illness torpedoed his plans for him to appear in person in the recent 'Friends: The Reunion show'


                            James Michael Tyler: Gunther from 'Friends' reveals he is paralyzed with stage 4 cancer
James Michael Tyler appeared as Gunther in all ten seasons of 'Friends' (Photo by Paul Zimmerman/Getty Images)

After almost a month of 'Friends: The Reunion special' episode aired, James Michael Tyler, known for playing Gunther from Central Perk has revealed that he's battling stage 4 cancer. The 'Friends' reunion special episode aired on HBO Max on May 26. While Tyler could not be a part of it, he did make a short appearance via video conferencing.

According to reports, James Michael Tyler aka Gunther has been battling stage 4 prostate cancer since 2018. The actor appeared in all ten seasons of 'Friends' and was famous for being 'not so secret' admirer of Rachel. The actor revealed the news on the 'Today' show on June 21.

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Actor James Michael Tyler (Photo by Paul Zimmerman/Getty Images)

Tyler told the 'Today' show, "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." He added, "It's stage 4. Late stage cancer. So eventually, you know, it's gonna probably get me." He further revealed how his doctors were at first optimistic about his recovery but the cancer started 'mutating' at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic. "I missed going in for a test, which was not a good thing," he told viewers. So the cancer decided to mutate at the time of the pandemic and so it's progressed, " he said.

Reportedly, the cancer has spread to his bones and spines, which has left him paralyzed in his lower body. Tyler is currently undergoing chemotherapy. He also mentioned that his illness torpedoed his plans for him to appear in person in the recent 'Friends: The Reunion show'. "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, " he said.

Gunther in 'FRIENDS' (Netflix)

Tyler added, "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'."

James hopes to help others by sharing his stories. He said, "a lot of men, if they catch this early, it's easily treatable. I don't want people to have to go through what I've been going through. This is not... an easy process. My goal this past year was to see my 59th birthday. I did that, May 28th. My goal now is to help save at least one life by coming out with this news. That's my only reason for coming out like this and letting people know... that's my new role."

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