James Michael Tyler Death: Friends Stars Pay Tribute To Gunther Actor Following His Death, Aged 59

"Friends would not have been the same without you," Jennifer Aniston said.

The cast of Friends, including Jennifer Aniston and Courteney Cox, have paid tribute to their former co-star James Michael Tyler, saying the show “would not have been the same” without him.

The 59-year-old, who played Gunther in the US comedy, died at his home in Los Angeles on Sunday after being diagnosed with prostate cancer, his representatives said.

The star was beloved by millions of fans for his portrayal of the quirky manager of coffee shop Central Perk who possessed a head of bleached hair and an unrequited love for Rachel, played by Jennifer.

Jennifer shared an Instagram post which included a clip of the pair in the final episode as Gunther declares his love for Rachel before being let down gently.

“Friends would not have been the same without you,” the 52-year-old wrote in the post’s caption.

“Thank you for the laughter you brought to the show and to all of our lives. You will be so missed.”

Co-star Courteney Cox posted a photo of James in a pink-striped collared shirt and tie to express her “gratitude” to her former co-star.

She 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 shared a still of the pair either side of Central Perk’s counter.

“We had a lot of laughs buddy,” he wrote in the Instagram post’s caption.

“You will be missed. RIP my friend.”

Matthew Perry, who played Chandler Bing, paid tribute to his “good Friend” on Twitter.

James revealed in June he had prostate cancer, telling a US TV show he was diagnosed with an advanced form of the disease in 2018 which had spread to his bones.

In a statement announcing his death, his representatives said: “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 Michael Tyler
James Michael Tyler
Steve Granitz via Getty Images

James was dubbed by many fans as the “seventh Friend” due to his ubiquity on the series.

As well as playing Gunther, his other TV roles included teen sitcom Sabrina, The Teenage Witch and medical comedy Scrubs.

Kevin S Bright, an executive producer on Friends, also paid tribute following the death, saying: “James Michael Tyler Our Gunther passed away last night. He was an incredible person who spent his final days helping others. God bless you James, Gunther lives forever.”

The official Friends Twitter account said: “Warner Bros Television mourns the loss of James Michael Tyler, a beloved actor and integral part of our FRIENDS family. Our thoughts are with his family, friends, colleagues and fans.”

In 2021, James’ spoken word performance of Stephen Kalinich’s poem If You Knew was adapted into a short video to raise awareness for the Prostate Cancer Foundation.

He is survived by his wife, Jennifer Carno.