James Michael Tyler, the actor who played Central Perk coffee shop worker Gunther on ‘Friends‘, has revealed that he’s been diagnosed with prostate cancer.
The 59-year-old actor made the revelation on the Today show. He told host Craig Melvin that he received his diagnosis in September 2018.
“I’ve been dealing with that diagnosis for almost the past three years. … It’s stage 4 [now], late-stage cancer. So eventually, you know, it’s gonna probably get me,” he said.
Adding that he was told during a routine physical that it was advanced and has spread to his bones.
Now that he’s made his diagnosis public, Tyler is encouraging men to get their screening early.
“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 check-up, 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 said.
“A lot of men, if they catch this early, it’s easily treatable. I don’t want people to have to go through what I’ve been going through,” said Tyler. “This is not … an easy process.”
Tyler played Gunther for 10 years on the sitcom and appeared virtually on the HBO Max Friends reunion special. He told Melvin that he still wanted to be part of the event, even if not in-person.
“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?” he said. “… I didn’t want to be like, ‘Oh, and by the way, Gunther has cancer.’ “