'Friends' Regular Cast Shares Stage 4 Cancer Diagnosis, Actor Says He'll Probably Die From It
"Friends" actor James Michael Tyler revealed that he has stage 4 prostate cancer. He was not just a cast, though - he was a regular member of the show and appeared in all 10 seasons as Gunther.
Gunther is the manager of the "Central Perk" coffee shop where Jennifer Aniston's character Rachel is an employee.
Tyler, 58, shared the sad news on NBC's Today on Monday. He detailed that he received his diagnosis way back in September 2018 already. For several years battling the disease, he felt quite hopeful since the doctors started out quite optimistic. But time shows the disease becoming so serious that not only did it spread to other parts of his body, it got to his bones and spine and rendered his lower body paralyzed.
"I was diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer, which had spread to my bones," Tyler said (Via Daily Mail UK). He is also stated matter-of-factly that the late-stage cancer is bound to "get him."
He also revealed that it was at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic that cancer really started to mutate and wreck his body further. "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."
Not that the "Friends" cast and crew banned him from appearing on the highly-awaited reunion that aired on HBO. He was given a chance to participate but through Zoom.
Since he is presently undergoing chemotherapy and given his paralysis, he could not appear in person for "Friends: The Reunion," no matter how much he wanted to be part of it.
'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.
Being present through Zoom triggered a range of mixed emotions in him.
"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," he detailed.
Tyler said most of the cast and crew were aware he has been battling cancer.