Friends Star James Michael Tyler Dies Aged 59

by : Cameron Frew on : 24 Oct 2021 22:43
Friends Star James Michael Tyler Dies Aged 59Warner Bros./Alamy

James Michael Tyler, who played Gunther in Friends, has died at the age of 59.

The actor, who played Central Perk’s barista throughout the hit sitcom, passed away at his home in Los Angeles on Sunday morning, October 24, his manager confirmed. Tyler was diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer in 2018, which spread to his bones.


‘If you met him once you made a friend for life. [He] is survived by his wife, Jennifer Carno, the love of his life,’ a statement said, BBC News reports.

‘Wanting to help as many people as possible, he bravely shared his story and became a campaigner for those with a prostate to get a… blood test as early as 40-years-old,’ his manager added.

His family also said, ‘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. Michael loved live music, cheering on his Clemson Tigers, and would often find himself in fun and unplanned adventures. If you met him once you made a friend for life,’ as per TMZ.


Gunther was Central Perk’s loveable barista in the series, who long had a crush on Jennifer Aniston’s Rachel. Tyler made a brief appearance during this year’s Friends reunion via Zoom.

‘It was the most memorable 10 years of my life, honestly. I could not have imagined just a better experience. All these guys were fantastic and just a joy to work with. It felt very, very special,’ he earlier said, telling The Today Show he didn’t want to bring a ‘downer’ on the reunion with his illness.

Tributes from colleagues and fans alike have been shared on social media. ‘James Michael Tyler Our Gunther passed away last night. He was an incredible person who spent his final days helping others. God bless you James, Gunther lives forever,’ Kevin Bright, a former Friends producer, tweeted.


‘While reading about James Michael Tyler’s tragic death, Rachel’s final words to Gunther came to mind… ‘when I’m in a café, having coffee, or I see a man with hair brighter than the sun, I’ll think of you’,’ BBC News‘ Anna Collinson also wrote.

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Cameron Frew

Entertainment Editor at UNILAD. 2001: A Space Odyssey is the best film ever made, and Warrior is better than Rocky. That's all you need to know.

Topics: Film and TV, Friends, Now


BBC News and 1 other
  1. BBC News

    James Michael Tyler: Friends' actor dies aged 59

  2. TMZ