James Michael Tyler, who played Gunther in 'Friends', reveals cancer diagnosis

The actor, who played a fan-favourite recurring role in the sitcom, announced he has stage 4 prostate cancer

LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 15:  James Michael Tyler attends the launch of Friendsfest at The Boiler House,The Old Truman Brewery, on September 15, 2015 in London, England.  (Photo by Anthony Harvey/Getty Images)
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James Michael Tyler, the actor who played Gunther in Friends, has revealed that he has stage 4 prostate cancer.

Speaking of his terminal diagnosis to the Today Show, Tyler said: "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."

Tyler was first diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2018.

James Michael Tyler, as Gunther in 'Friends' episode 'The One with The Morning After', season 3, episode 16. Courtesy Netflix 

The actor, 59, appeared via video on Friends: The Reunion in May. In the long-running sitcom he played Gunther, Rachel's (Jennifer Aniston) barista colleague at Central Perk. He revealed that he missed the in-person reunion because of his diagnosis.

Of the reunion, James said, "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. 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.'"

Prostate cancer: symptoms men should look out for

According to Prostate Cancer UK, prostate cancer is the country's most common cancer in men, with "more than 47,500 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer every year – that's 129 men every day".

The charity lists the following symptoms, but notes that "most men with early prostate cancer don't have any signs or symptoms":

  • difficulty starting to urinate or emptying your bladder
  • a weak flow when you urinate
  • a feeling that your bladder hasn't emptied properly
  • dribbling urine after you finish urinating
  • needing to urinate more often than usual, especially at night
  • a sudden need to urinate – you may sometimes leak urine before you get to the toilet
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