HomeEntertainment‘Friends’ Actor James Michael Tyler, Who Played Gunther, Reveals Stage 4 Cancer Diagnosis

‘Friends’ Actor James Michael Tyler, Who Played Gunther, Reveals Stage 4 Cancer Diagnosis

by Matthew Wilson
Photo credit: Paul Zimmerman/Getty Images

“Friends” actor James Michael Tyler shared some difficult news with fans this week. Audiences, of course, remember Tyler for playing Gunther on the show. Gunther was a recurring character and worked at the coffee shop that Chandler, Phoebe, and the rest often visited.

In an interview with TODAY, Tyler revealed he has prostate cancer. He’s been battling the ailment since September 2018. Unfortunately, doctors had not managed to catch the cancer in time.

“I was diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer, which had spread to my bones,” Tyler told the outlet. “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.”

An annual check-up changed Tyler’s life forever. After the check-up, Tyler’s doctor alerted him to the fact that something wasn’t right. Later, the medical staff at UCLA confirmed that Tyler had prostate cancer. Doctors also determined Tyler was at a genetic predisposition to develop the cancer.

“I was 56 years old at the time, and they screen for PSA, which is prostate-specific-antigen,” Tyler explained. “That came back at an extraordinarily high number … So I knew immediately when I went online and I saw the results of my blood test and blood work that there was obviously something quite wrong there. Nearly immediately, my doctor called me and said ‘Hey, I need you to come in tomorrow because I suspect that you may have quite a serious problem with your prostate.'”

James Michael Tyler Battles Cancer

James Michael Tyler started a lengthy battle against the cancer. He started taking hormone therapy, which helped him continue life as normal. But during the pandemic, the cancer eventually spread to his bones as well. In particular, it affected his spine and caused paralysis of the lower half of his body.

“I missed going in for a test, which was not a good thing,” Tyler said. “So the cancer decided to mutate at the time of the pandemic, and so it’s progressed.”

But the “Friends” actor isn’t giving up on fighting the good fight. Tyler is currently treating the cancer with chemotherapy. He said the chemical cocktail is “aggressively” fighting his cancer. He also warned other men not to put off going to the doctor. Tyler believed an earlier screening might have caught the cancer before it spread.

“There are other options available to men if they catch it before me,” Tyler 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. … If it spreads beyond the prostate to the bones, which is most prevalent in my form, it can be a lot more difficult to deal with.”