‘Friends’ actor James Michael Tyler aka Gunther opens up on last stage cancer, thanks fans for love


James Michael Tyler aka Gunther

It came as a shocker when ‘Friends’ actor James Michael Tyler aka Gunther revealed being diagnosed with stage four of cancer. The 59-year-old actor revealed he was diagnosed with prostate cancer in September 2018 after a routine check-up. He is undergoing chemotherapy. Weeks after he appeared on Friends: The Reunion, the actor took to social media to thank fans for their love and support. He also urged everyone for early detection of symptoms.

“Just finished chemo round 2 last week! Thank you all so much for your outpouring of love and support. It means the world to me. Please click the link in my bio. Early detection can make all the difference,” he captioned a photo in which wheelchair bound Tyler can be seen showing a thumbs-up sign.

Recently, in an interview with NBC’s Today show Tyler opened up about the diagnosis and his appearance on HBO Max’s Friends reunion special.  “I was 56 years old at the time, and they screen for PSA, which is prostate-specific antigen. That came back at an extraordinarily high number. So I knew immediately when I went online and I saw the results of my blood test and blood work that there was obviously something quite wrong there. Nearly immediately, my doctor called me and said, ‘Hey, I need you to come in tomorrow because I suspect that you may have quite a serious problem with your prostate’,” he said.

Also read: ‘Friends’ actor James Michael Tyler, who portrayed Gunther, reveals stage 4 prostate cancer diagnosis

After he missed a test during the pandemic, cancer spread to his bones and he can no longer walk. Opening up about his cameo in the Friends reunion special episode, Tyler said originally he was to join the cast on the stage but after the diagnosis, he decided to attend it virtually. The makers of the show had long known about his cancer diagnosis but he didn’t want to talk about it on the special. 


“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 said.

In addition, he also urged everyone to go for an early detection test for cancer. “There are other options available to men if they catch it before me. Next time you go in for just a basic exam or your yearly checkup, please ask your doctor for a PSA test. It’s easily detectable. If it spreads beyond the prostate to the bones, which is most prevalent in my form, it can be a lot more difficult to deal with,” he added.


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Sagar Biswas

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