James Michael Tyler’s Friends co-stars have paid tribute to him following his death.
The actor, who played Gunther in the sitcom, passed away on Sunday morning at the age of 59 after being diagnosed with prostate cancer.
Jennifer Aniston, who played Gunther’s crush Rachel Green in the show, took to Instagram to react to the heartbreaking news.
She wrote: “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 💔”
Courteney Cox, who played Monica Geller on the show, wrote: “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, who played Joey Tribbiani, wrote: “We had a lot of laughs buddy. You will be missed. RIP my friend.”
Lisa Kudrow, who played Phoebe Buffay, penned: “James Michael Tyler, we will miss you. Thank you for being there for us all. #jamesmichealtyler”
James was diagnosed with the cancer in 2018, but he did not share his diagnosis until June of this year, after the cancer spread to his bones.
His family confirmed his death to TMZ, saying 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.”
James attended the Friends reunion this year via video call rather than in person, and he later explained to TODAY: “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.”
“It was bittersweet, honestly. 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 urged others who are fighting cancer not to give up, saying: “Keep fighting. Keep yourself as light as possible. And have goals. Set goals. My goal this past year was to see my 59th birthday. I did that, May 28th. My goal now is to help save at least one life by coming out with this news.”