James Michael Tyler, who played Gunther on ‘Friends,’ dies at 59

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James Michael Tyler, who portrayed as the coffee shop manager Gunther on all ten seasons of ‘Friends’ has passed away at the age of 59. Tyler revealed earlier this year that he had advanced prostate cancer since 2018, which later spread to his bones.

“The world knew him as Gunther (the seventh “Friend”), but his loved ones knew him as an actor, musician, loving husband, and cancer-awareness advocate,” said his representative Toni Benson. His statement further read, “Tyler loved live music, cheering on his Clemson Tigers, and would often spot himself in fun and unplanned adventures. If you met him once, you made a friend for life.”

The actor steadily rose to fame with every appearance he made as Central Perk’s barista. Although not a member of the hit show’s core cast, Tyler starred in one hundred and fifty episodes and amassed a massive fan following. 

Following his death on the 24th of October, stars of the iconic show mourned the loss of Tyler. In an Instagram post, Jennifer Aniston expressed how important Tyler was to the show saying, “Friends would not have been the same without you, thank you for the laughter you brought to the show and all of our lives. You will be so missed.” Aniston also shared a clip from the show where Tyler’s character Gunther professes his secret love for Rachel.

Aniston was joined by her former co-star Courtney Cox in sharing condolences for the late actor. Cox posted a tribute to Tyler on her Instagram page, captioning a picture of him on the Friends set with the words, “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.”

After attaining a Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of Georgia, Tyler moved to Los Angeles to pursue acting. His role in the show, which originated as a non-speaking background character, was one of Tyler’s first television appearances and became the one for which he was most known. He also made appearances in other popular shows, such as ‘Sabrina the Teenage Witch’ and ‘Scrubs’.

The actor has passed away peacefully at his Los Angeles home and is survived by his wife, Jennifer Carno. Despite his passing, Tyler will always be remembered as one of the most iconic background characters in television.


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