The star who is known and loved for playing the Central Perk coffee shop worker, Gunther, opened up on Monday’s NBC Today Show about his health struggles since being diagnosed in September 2018.
He explained that the illness had not been caught early and had advanced to other parts of his body. He told TV host Craig Melvin, “I’ve been dealing with that diagnosis for almost the past three years. It’s stage four now. Late-stage cancer. So eventually, you know, it’s gonna probably get me.”
The 59-year-old explained that he was initially supposed to make a cameo in-person at the recent HBO Max, Friends reunion special, but instead opted to appear via Zoom.
Confirming that his ex co-stars knew about his illness, he said:
💔news about #michaeltyler #gunther #friends ☕ Stage4 cancer. My thoughts & prayers go out to the funniest coffee sh… https://t.co/Mx1zNIPYB8
“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 was one of the original Friends cast members who joined back in 1994 when the series first aired. His well-loved sarcastic wit and unrequited love for Rachel Green - played by Jennifer Aniston - went down an instant hit with fans and led to a 10-year career in the sitcom. Despite being a minor character, he appeared in 148 out of 236 episodes and remains iconic to this day.
@PerezHilton Oh Gunther! James was such a joy to watch on Friends, his comedic timing, his style, he just brought s… https://t.co/8PTclN3yAt