James Michael Tyler — a.k.a. Gunther from 'Friends' — Reveals Stage 4 Prostate Cancer Diagnosis
"My goal this past year was to see my 59th birthday. I did that. My goal now is to help save at least one life."
The 59-year-old Tyler made the reveal this morning while on Today, where he publicly explained for the first time that he was first diagnosed with the disease in September 2018 after the cancer had already spread to his bones.
"It's stage 4. Late stage cancer," Tyler said. "So eventually, you know, it's gonna probably get me."
Tyler went on to explain that his current cancer battle was one of the reasons he participated in HBO Max's recent Friends reunion via Zoom rather than in person.
Actor James Michael Tyler (@slate_michael) played Gunther on "Friends" for 10 years, but he was unable to attend the recent cast reunion in person because he's been battling a serious health issue. Now he's sharing his news for the first time with @craigmelvin. pic.twitter.com/272tg4Sbvc— TODAY (@TODAYshow) June 21, 2021
"It was bittersweet, honestly," he said of the reunion. "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.'"
He also explained that the producers of Friends had been aware of his cancer diagnosis for what Tyler described as "a long time." Right now, Tyler is undergoing aggressive chemotherapy treatment to combat the disease.
"Next time you go in for just a basic exam or your yearly checkup, please ask your doctor for a PSA test," Tyler pleaded to viewers. "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 added: "My goal this past year was to see my 59th birthday. I did that. My goal now is to help save at least one life."