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The “Friends” family is mourning one of its own.
James Michael Tyler, who starred on the iconic sitcom as Central Perk barista Gunther, died Sunday morning following a battle with prostate cancer, Access Hollywood has learned. He was 59.
A spokesperson for the actor confirmed his passing in a statement to NBC News, honoring the personal and professional legacy he sadly leaves behind.
“The world knew him as Gunther (the seventh ‘Friend’), from the hit series ‘Friends,’ but Michael’s loved ones knew him as an actor, musician, cancer-awareness advocate, and loving husband,” the tribute began, adding, “If you met him once you made a friend for life.”
Weeks after appearing remotely on the HBO Max “Friends” reunion, Tyler went public with his condition during a June interview on “Today,” revealing that he was first diagnosed in 2018 and he had come to terms with the illness’ progression.
“It’s stage 4. Late stage cancer. So eventually, you know, it’s gonna probably get me,” he said.
Tyler is survived by his wife, Jennifer Carno. The pair tied the knot in 2017. He was previously married to Barbara Chadsey.
Per Tyler’s rep, he became an activist for prostate cancer awareness while undergoing treatment, earning accolades for his work in two short films and delivering a spoken word performance of the Stephen Kalinich poem “If You Knew,” which was adapted into a short video for the Prostate Cancer Foundation.
— Erin Biglow