Friends cast pay heartfelt tribute to James Michael Tyler as he dies

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David Schwimmer (l) is among the Friends stars to pay tribute to James Michael Tyler (Picture: NBCUniversal via Getty Images)

The Friends cast, including Jennifer Aniston and Courteney Cox, have paid tribute to James Michael Tyler following his death over the weekend. 

Tyler, best known for playing Gunther in the long-running US sitcom, died on Sunday morning aged 59 following a battle with cancer

He had been diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2018 but only revealed his private health battle earlier this year. 

After the news broke last night, Aniston – who played Rachel Green – wrote in an Instagram post: ‘Friends would not have been the same without you. Thank you for the laughter you brought to the show and to all of our lives. You will be so missed #JamesMichaelTyler.’ 

She included a clip of the famous moment from the Friends series finale in 2004 when Gunther finally plucked up the courage to tell Rachel that he loved her. 

Rachel, who was jetting off to Paris for a new job, told him that she’d always think of him whenever she saw a man with ‘hair brighter than the sun’ like Gunther’s iconic bleached blonde hair. 

Cox, who played Monica Gellar, shared a heartfelt message, which 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. Rest In peace James.’ 

Matt LeBlanc, best known for playing Joey Tribbiani in the sitcom, wrote: ‘We had a lot of laughs buddy. You will be missed. RIP my friend,’ alongside a photo of their characters together in the show’s famous coffee house Central Perk.’ 

Phoebe Buffay actress Lisa Kudrow said: ‘James Michael Tyler, we will miss you. Thank you for being there for us all.’ 

David Schwimmer, who starred as paleontologist Ross Gellar, has not spoken publicly about Tyler’s death. 

A tribute on the official Friends Instagram account acknowledged Tyler’s death with a post which said: ‘Warner Bros. Television mourns the loss of James Michael Tyler, a beloved actor and integral part of our FRIENDS family. Our thoughts are with his family, friends, colleagues and fans.’ 

Tyler was a much beloved Friends star thanks to his role as Gunther (Picture: Rex – Getty)

Maggie Wheeler, who played Janice, commented on the post: ‘So Grateful to have know this kind and gentle man. James Michael Tyler will be dearly missed. My thoughts are with his loved ones at this difficult time.’ 

Tyler’s death was announced by his family who said in a statement: ‘The world knew him as Gunther (the seventh “Friend”), from the hit series Friends, but Michael’s loved ones knew him as an actor, musician, cancer-awareness advocate, and loving husband.

‘Michael loved live music, cheering on his Clemson Tigers, and would often find himself in fun and unplanned adventures. If you met him once you made a friend for life.’

In June, Tyler shared on Today Show that the cancer had spread to his bones.

Speaking to Craig Melvin, he explained: ‘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… It’s stage 4 (now). Late stage cancer. So eventually, you know, it’s gonna probably get me.’

Tyler appeared on Friends from 1994 to 2004 and featured in 150 episodes. 

The TV star was unable to attend the recent reunion special on HBO Max physically due to his ongoing health battle, but he did make a brief virtual appearance.

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