The Tragic Death Of Friends Star James Michael Tyler

James Michael Tyler, a popular actor who was known for his role as Gunther on "Friends," died at age 59 on the morning of October 24 after being diagnosed with stage 4 prostate cancer, TMZ reported. Tyler first publicly shared his diagnosis of prostate cancer on the Today Show in June 2021, revealing that he had been diagnosed in 2018.

Tyler's family shared a statement with TMZ following the news, saying, "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." Tyler leaves behind his wife, Jennifer Carno.

Following Tyler's death, his fans are looking back at his life as well as his most famous role and what he had hoped to accomplish before he died. Read on as we do the same.

James Michael Tyler hoped to 'save at least one life'

James Michael Tyler was born on May 28, 1962, in Winona, Mississippi, according to IMDb, and went on to earn an MFA in Acting from the University of Georgia. As he told Digital Spy, he landed the role of Gunther, the love-struck barista on "Friends," because he was the only one on set who knew how to work the espresso machine. He joked, "I honestly always thought my Masters in fine arts would get me further in the acting world than knowing how to work an espresso machine!" 

"[When] they had the 20th anniversary and the first FriendsFest in the UK and I retired Gunther, I thought that has to be it," he told the New Zealand Herald in 2019. However, he noted that when the show was added to Netflix, "it garnered an entirely new audience of Millennials and young people" who "were watching it like it was the first run and it's more popular now than ever." He admitted, "I never would have imagined I'd be here sitting here 25 years after it began, still talking about ['Friends']."

When disclosing his prostate cancer diagnosis on the Today Show in 2021, Tyler encouraged others to get a PSA (a prostate-specific antigen) screening. It was Tyler's hope that he could "help save at least one life by coming out with this news."

Our condolences go out to Tyler's family, friends, and fans.