James Michael Tyler, who played Gunther in ‘Friends’, has died at the age of 59.
“Tyler died peacefully Sunday morning at his home in Los Angeles,” his manager said in a statement.
“Once you meet him, you become friends for a lifetime,” it said. “[His] successor is his wife, Jennifer Carno, the love of his life.”
Tyler was diagnosed in 2018 with advanced prostate cancer that later spread to his bones.
“Wanting to help as many people as possible, he boldly shared his story and became a preacher at the age of 40 to do blood tests for people with prostates,” his manager said.
11 Best Moments of Gunther on Friends
Although he didn’t give as much screen time as the six main characters of Friends, Gunther was and remains a popular personality among fans.
Gunther worked as a waiter and manager at the show’s coffee house, Central Park.
He fell in love with Jennifer Aniston’s character Rachel throughout the series, who worked there as a waitress during the show’s opening season.
“The world knew him as Gunther (seventh friend) … but Michael’s loved ones knew him as an actor, musician, cancer-awareness lawyer and loving husband,” his manager said.
In May, Tyler made a brief appearance at the Friends Reunion Special via Zoom.
“Honestly, it was the most memorable 10 years of my life,” the actor said during the show.
“I just can’t imagine a better experience than this,” he said. “All of these people were fantastic and it was just a pleasure working with them. It felt so, so special.”
Tyler appeared in nearly 150 episodes of the comedy that ran on NBC from 1994 to 2004.
Paying tribute to Tyler, Aniston wrote on her Instagram page: “Friends, it wouldn’t be the same without you. Thank you for the laughter you brought to the show and to all of our lives. You’ll miss so much.”
Aniston also shared a clip of the final episode, where Gunther finally declares his love for Rachel.
In an Instagram post, co-star Courtney Cox, who plays Monica, said: “The size of the gratitude you bring into the room and show up every day on set is the size of gratitude for recognizing you.”
Tyler was “a beloved actor and an integral part of our friendly family,” said Warner Bros. Television, one of the co-producers of Sitcom.
Michael continued to perform in recent years while undergoing treatment for cancer.
He acted in two short films – The Gesture and The Word, and Processing – which won Best Actor awards at various film festivals.