The cast and creators of Friends are mourning the loss of their former co-star James Michael Tyler, who played Central Perk barista Gunther.
Tyler died yesterday morning from prostate cancer after being diagnosed in September 2018. His manager, Toni Benson, said,
“Wanting to help as many people as possible, he bravely shared his story and became a campaigner for those with a prostate to get a first PSA blood test as early as 40 years old.”
Friends co-creators Marta Kauffman and David Crane said in a statement,
“James was a genuinely kind, sweet man.
When he started as an extra on Friends, his unique spirit caught our eye and we knew we had to make him a character. He made Gunther’s unrequited love incredibly relatable. Our heart goes out to his wife, Jennifer Carno.”
Late last night Friends cast members (except for Matthew Perry) posted tributes on Instagram. Jennifer Aniston, who’s character Rachel was the object of Gunther’s unreturned affection, posted a clip of their final interaction, when Gunther finally admits his feelings for her,
“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.”
Courteney Cox shared the same photo,
“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.”
Lisa Kudrow referenced the show’s iconic theme song by The Rembrandts in her tribute.
“James Michael Tyler, we will miss you. Thank you for being there for us all.”
Matt LeBlanc added a shot of him and Tyler together in a scene, fondly remembering the humor they shared.
“We had a lot of laughs buddy. You will be missed. RIP my friend.”
David Schwimmer, often the main subject of Gunther’s ire, wrote
“James, thank you for playing such a wonderful, unforgettable role in Friends and for being such a big hearted gentleman and all around mensch off screen.
You will be missed, buddy.”