Friends: Gunther actor James Michael Tyler dies aged 59

25 October 2021, 07:43 | Updated: 25 October 2021, 08:01

James Michael Tyler has died
James Michael Tyler has died. Picture: Getty

By Will Taylor

Hit TV show Friends "would not have been the same" without James Michael Tyler, who has died aged 59.

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Jennifer Aniston, who played Rachel in the beloved US sitcom, was among those who paid tribute to the actor behind Gunther, the coffee shop manager who was in love with her character.

Mr Tyler died at home in Los Angeles on Sunday after being diagnosed with prostate cancer.

Gunther was known to millions as the quirky boss of Central Perk, one of the main settings where the show's characters would meet.

In an Instagram post, Ms Aniston posted a photo of Mr Tyler and her on set and a clip from the final episode when Gunther revealed he loved Rachel before being let down gently.

"Friends would not have been the same without you," Ms Aniston said.

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"Thank you for the laughter you brought to the show and to all of our lives. You will be so missed."

Co-star Courteney Cox, who played Monica, said: "The size of gratitude you brought into the room and showed every day on set is the size of the gratitude I hold for having known you.

"Rest In peace, James."

Matt LeBlanc, the actor behind Joey, said: "We had a lot of laughs buddy.

"You will be missed. RIP my friend."

Mr Tyler revealed he had prostate cancer in June, when he told a US TV show he had been diagnosed with an advanced form of the disease in 2018 and it had spread to his bones.

In a statement announcing his death, Tyler's representatives 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."

Kevin S Bright, an executive producer on Friends, said: "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."

The official Friends Twitter account said: "Warner Bros Television mourns the loss of James Michael Tyler, a beloved actor and integral part of our FRIENDS family. Our thoughts are with his family, friends, colleagues and fans."

Mr Tyler, who is survived by wife Jennifer Carno, also appeared in Sabrina, The Teenage Witch and Scrubs.