James Michael Tyler Receives Outpouring of Support as 'Friends' Actor Admits Cancer Battle

Friends actor James Michael Tyler, who played coffee shop worker Gunther on the beloved sitcom, has revealed he's battling stage IV cancer.

The 59-year-old screen star shared in an interview with NBC's Today show on Monday that his battle with the disease led to him opting to appear only virtually in Friends: The Reunion, as he didn't want to "bring a downer" on the HBO special.

Tyler revealed that he was diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer during an annual health checkup in September 2018.

After embarking on hormone therapy that "worked amazingly for about a year," Tyler would learn that the cancer had spread to his bones and spine, leading to paralysis of the lower body.

"I've been dealing with that diagnosis for almost the past three years," he told Today host Craig Melvin. "It's stage 4 (now). Late stage cancer. So eventually, you know, it's gonna probably get me."

His devastating news sparked an outpouring of support on Twitter, with fans sharing their well wishes in droves immediately after the broadcast.

"Sad to hear about James Michael Tyler's health," tweeted blogger @elliot_gonzalez. "Wishing him the very best and thinking of him and his family."

"Just found out James Michael Tyler, better known as Gunther from Friends, is battling Stage 4 Prostate Cancer," wrote @ThatRolls. "My heart is breaking 💔 thoughts are with him and family at this really terrifying time."

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

"Prayers to James Michael Tyler," said @ashleycolley, who added: "Please please please go get checked out early and often."

"James, Will be praying for you...!!!!" @Cuddlebear19 wrote. "Thanks for all the laughs you gave us over the years...!!!! God Bless You...!!!!"

Meanwhile, @nibikinz tweeted: "james michael tyler having stage 4 prostate cancer has me on all levels of sadness right now :(."

In his interview with Today, Tyler said that the timing of the disease's advancement meant that he skipped a crucial test, as it was at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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

While he is now undergoing chemotherapy, which is "aggressively" fighting the cancer, Tyler said that, ultimately, early detection is the best route out of the battle.

"There are other options available to men if they catch it before me," he said. "Next time you go in for just a basic exam or your yearly checkup, please ask your doctor for a PSA test. It's easily detectable...

"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."

"Friends" star James Michael Tyler battling cancer
James Michael Tyler attends the launch of Friendsfest at The Boiler House,The Old Truman Brewery, on September 15, 2015 in London, England. The actor has revealed that he is battling advanced cancer. Mike Marsland/WireImage