Speed Reads

'to help save at least one life'

James Michael Tyler, Friends' Gunther, emotionally reveals prostate cancer diagnosis

James Michael Tyler, the actor known for his role as coffee shop manager Gunther on Friends, is opening up about his battle with stage 4 prostate cancer.

Tyler in an appearance on the Today show Monday revealed he was diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer in September 2018. The cancer was discovered after he received a prostate specific antigen (PSA) test during a routine physical, he says. 

"I was diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer, which had spread to my bones," Tyler said. "It's stage 4, late stage cancer. So eventually, you know, it's gonna probably get me." 

Tyler, who said the cast and creators of Friends are aware of his diagnosis, wasn't able to participate in the show's recent reunion special on HBO Max in person, but he made an appearance remotely via Zoom. James Corden explained during the special the actor "so desperately wanted to be part of" it. 

Tyler told Today he wishes he had "gone in earlier" and urged viewers to ask their doctor for a PSA test, stressing the importance of detecting prostate cancer early. 

"My goal this past year was to see my 59th birthday," he said. "I did that. My goal now is to help save at least one life."