Friends actor James Michael Tyler who played Gunther, reveals stage 4 prostate cancer battle

James Michael Tyler, the actor who played Gunther in Friends, has opened up about the cancer that has left his lower body paralyzed

James Michael Tyler
(Image credit: TIMOTHY A. CLARY / Staff / Getty Images)

James Michael Tyler has opened up about his diagnosis of stage 4 prostate cancer, which has left his lower body paralyzed. 

James, who is best known by many for his iconic role as Gunther, the coffee shop owner in Friends, has revealed that he has been suffering from cancer for the past few years. In an interview with NBC’s Today, James opened up about his diagnosis as he revealed, “I was diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer, which had spread to my bones.”

The actor revealed that he was diagnosed in 2018. He said, “I’ve been dealing with that diagnosis for almost the past three years... It’s stage 4. Late-stage cancer. So eventually, you know, it’s gonna probably get me.” He continued to open up on how he’s dealing with his prostate cancer treatment and the effects of living with the disease.

Speaking about his diagnosis James said, “I was 56 years old at the time, and they screen for PSA, which is prostate-specific antigen. That came back at an extraordinarily high number… So I knew immediately when I went online and I saw the results of my blood test and blood work that there was obviously something quite wrong there.”

He continued, ”Nearly immediately, my doctor called me and said ‘Hey, I need you to come in tomorrow because I suspect that you may have quite a serious problem with your prostate’.”

James was diagnosed in 2018 and although the doctors had an optimistic outlook, he revealed that his cancer has progressed during the pandemic. 

He said, ”I missed going in for a test, which was not a good thing. So the cancer decided to mutate at the time of the pandemic and so it’s progressed.” 

James revealed that the cancer has spread to his spine and lower body, and he can no longer walk. 

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James revealed that his cancer stopped him from attending the Friends Reunion that took place just a few weeks ago and revealed that he’s currently undergoing chemotherapy, and so opted to appear on the show via Zoom instead. 

“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,” he said.

He continued: “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’.” 

James encouraged viewers to get tested and attend regular check-ups for their prostate. 

There are a number of symptoms to look out for in your partner if they’re concerned about prostate cancer.

We wish James all the best.