James Michael Tyler, the actor who played Gunther on “Friends,” shared an update about his health and the reason why he kept silent about his condition prior to the “Friends: The Reunion” episode.
“I was diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer, which had spread to my bones. I’ve been dealing with that diagnosis for almost the past three years,” he said. “It’s stage 4 [now]. Late stage cancer. So eventually, you know, it’s gonna probably get me.”
Tyler made a brief appearance via Zoom on the “Friends” reunion special that premiered last month on HBO Max. He said that he wanted to be there in person, but ultimately decided to just drop by through a video call because he didn’t want to be a “downer.”
“I wanted to be a part of that, and initially I was going to be on the stage, at least, with them, and be able to take part in all the festivities. It was bittersweet, honestly. I was very happy to be included,” he said.
“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.'”
Save a life
The 59-year-old actor said that he is sharing his story now because he wants to encourage others to have themselves checked. “There are other options available to men if they catch it before me… I don’t want people to have to go through what I’ve been going through. This is not… an easy process.”
He also said that his experience made him cherish his life more and want to “save at least one life.”
“It’s made me, personally, just realize how important every moment is, every day,” he said. “My goal this past year was to see my 59th birthday. I did that, May 28th. My goal now is to help save at least one life by coming out with this news.”