James Michael Tyler
, who played Gunther
, the sarcastic manager of the Central Perk
coffee shop on “Friends
,” has revealed that he is suffering from late-stage prostate cancer
In an emotional interview
with “Today” show host Craig Melvin on Monday, the 59-year-old actor revealed that he was diagnosed with cancer when he was 56 in September 2018.
Tyler's doctor decided to screen for PSA, or prostate-specific antigen, in his blood during an annual checkup, and the result was "extraordinarily high."
“I’ve been dealing with that diagnosis for almost three years... It’s stage 4 [now], late-stage cancer,” he explained, “so it’ll probably get me eventually.”
Actor James Michael Tyler (@slate_michael) played Gunther on “Friends” for ten years, but he was unable to attend the recent cast reunion
in person due to a serious health
issue, which he is now sharing with @craigmelvin for the first time. pic.twitter.com/272tg4Sbvc — TODAY (@TODAYshow) June 21, 2021
Tyler had been treated with hormone therapy since his diagnosis, which he said "worked amazingly" for a while, but the cancer had progressed over the past year, spreading to his bones and spine, resulting in lower-body paralysis.
“I missed going in for a test, which was a bad thing,” he explained, “so the cancer decided to mutate during the pandemic
, and it’s progressed.”
Tyler stated that he is now undergoing chemotherapy in order to fight the cancer “aggressively.”
He virtually appeared in last month's HBO Max
"Friends" reunion special, which brought together a slew of familiar faces from the long-running series for the first time in nearly two decades.
“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,” Tyler, who acted on the series for ten years, explained.
“I didn't want to say, 'Oh, and by the way, Gunther has cancer,'” he added.
Tyler stated that he has since "corresponded" with David Schwimmer
and is "certain" that the rest of the cast is aware of his diagnosis.
The actor stated that he is sharing his story to encourage people
to ask their doctors for PSA screening during routine physical
exams, as he does not want others to “go through what I’ve been through.”
“It’s made me realize how important every moment is, every day,” he said. “And fighting. Don’t give up. Keep fighting. Keep yourself as light as possible. And have goals. Set goals. My goal this past year was to see my 59th birthday, which I did on May 28th. My goal now is to help save at least one life by releasing this news