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Friends actor James Michael Tyler reveals prostate cancer diagnosis

Friends actor James Michael Tyler who played Gunther reveals he’s battling stage 4 prostate cancer – and it’s left his lower body paralyzed

  • James Michael Tyler, who played Gunther in Friends, revealed on Monday that he is battling stage 4 prostate cancer
  • The 59-year-old said he was diagnosed back in 2018 but it has since spread to other parts of his body, including his bones and spine
  • Tyler said the aggressive cancer has left his lower body paralyzed 
  • Tyler said doctors were optimistic when he was first diagnosed but the cancer started ‘mutating’ at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic 
  • Tyler, who is undergoing chemotherapy, said his illness stopped him from appearing in person for the Friends reunion, which aired last month on HBO 

Friends actor James Michael Tyler, who played Gunther in the hit series, has revealed he has been battling stage 4 prostate cancer. 

The 59-year-old told NBC’s Today on Monday that he was diagnosed back in 2018 but it has since spread to other parts of his body, including his bones and spine.

Tyler, who appeared in all 10 seasons of Friends as the manager of the Central Perk coffee shop, said the aggressive cancer has left his lower body paralyzed.  

‘I was diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer, which had spread to my bones,’ Tyler said. 

‘I’ve been dealing with that diagnosis for almost the past three years… It’s stage 4. Late stage cancer. So eventually, you know, it’s gonna probably get me.’  

Friends actor James Michael Tyler, who played Gunther, told NBC’s Today on Monday that he was diagnosed with prostate cancer back in 2018 but it has now spread to other parts of his body

The 59-year-old told NBC's Today on Monday that he was diagnosed back in 2018 but it has since spread to other parts of his body. He is pictured above as Gunther in Friends with Jennifer Aniston and Matthew Perry

The 59-year-old told NBC’s Today on Monday that he was diagnosed back in 2018 but it has since spread to other parts of his body. He is pictured above as Gunther in Friends with Jennifer Aniston and Matthew Perry

Tyler said doctors were optimistic when he was first diagnosed but the cancer started ‘mutating’ at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

‘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.’ 

Tyler, who is currently undergoing chemotherapy, said his illness stopped him from appearing in person for Friends: The Reunion, which aired last month on HBO. 

He made an appearance via Zoom instead. 

‘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,’ Tyler said. 

‘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’.’ 

Tyler said his cancer was not caught early and was only detected during a routine check up three years ago. 

Tyler said the aggressive cancer, which he was diagnosed with in 2018, has left his lower body paralyzed. He is pictured above in his wheelchair and back brace

Tyler said the aggressive cancer, which he was diagnosed with in 2018, has left his lower body paralyzed. He is pictured above in his wheelchair and back brace

Tyler said the aggressive cancer has left his lower body paralyzed. He said the cancer was not caught early and was only detected during a routine check up three years ago

Tyler said the aggressive cancer has left his lower body paralyzed. He said the cancer was not caught early and was only detected during a routine check up three years ago

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