James Michael Tyler, who played Central Perk manager Gunther on Friends, has revealed that he is battling Stage 4 prostate cancer.
The 59-year-old shared the news on the US Today Show on Monday.
“I was 56 years old at the time, and they screen for PSA, which is prostate-specific antigen,” he explained.
“That came back at an extraordinarily high number. So I knew immediately when I went online and I saw the results of my blood test and blood work that there was obviously something quite wrong there. Nearly immediately, my doctor called me and said, ‘Hey, I need you to come in tomorrow because I suspect that you may have quite a serious problem with your prostate.'”
Tyler, who appeared in all 10 seasons of Friends as the manager of the Central Perk cafe, can no longer walk after the aggressive cancer left his lower body paralysed.
“I was diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer, which had spread to my bones,” he said.
“I’ve been dealing with that diagnosis for almost the past three years… It’s stage 4. Late stage cancer. So eventually, you know, it’s gonna probably get me.”
The actor recently made an appearance on the ‘Friends: The Reunion’ special via Zoom.
“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,” Tyler said.
“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.'”
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
Tyler is undergoing chemotherapy, and is urging men to get screened early.
“There are other options available to men if they catch it before me,” he explained.
“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.”