FRIENDS stars and fans from across the world have paid tribute to James Michael Tyler, aka Gunther, who has died of prostate cancer at the age of 59.
The much-loved actor who was adored for his infatuation with Rachel and his witty one-liners was diagnosed with the illness in 2018 and lost his battle yesterday (Sunday) his manager revealed.
From 1994 to 2004, Gunther was a coffee shop worker at Central Perk with appearances in 148 of Friends’ 236 episodes. He is the show’s most-frequently-appearing recurring character actor.
His unrequited love for Rachel saw him give Ross the cold shoulder on more than one occasion while offering his unique put downs to the wit of Chandler and the charm of Joey.
Heartbroken cast members took to social media to share their memories of Gunther with Jennifer Aniston proclaiming the worldwide hit show ‘would have not have been the same’ without Tyler
“Thank you for the laughter you brought to the show and to all of our lives. You will be so missed,” she said.
Co-star Courtney 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.
LeBlanc, meanwhile, shared a photo of his character Joey chatting to Gunther in Central Perk.
“We had a lot of laughs buddy,” LeBlanc posted. “You will be missed. RIP my friend.”
Tyler’s manager said the actor passed away peacefully at his home in Los Angeles
A statement said: “The world knew him as Gunther (the seventh Friend)… but Michael’s loved ones knew him as an actor, musician, cancer-awareness advocate, and loving husband. If you met him once you made a friend for life.
“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.”
Tyler is survived by his wife Jennifer Carno.