Gunther Of ‘Friends’ Talks About His Stage 4 Cancer Battle
Jul 21st, 2021
James Michael Tylers’ character “Gunther” on Friends is one of the most-loved in the sitcom. And during the reunion, he only appeared digitally. That is why the 59-year-old actor opened up why he was not there together with the other casts during the reunion.
Recently he was a guest on Today and he announced that he’s suffering from advanced prostate cancer.
James explained that the cancer is stage 4 and by the time he found out he was sick back in 2018, it had already spread to his bones.
While the other casts stopped by to say hello to the others in person, Tyler appeared via video conference. He said, “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. ’”
The actor was tearful as he spoke about his diagnosis. James said that all he was hoping for is to make it to his 59th birthday. And he did this year!
James shared, “I was 56 years old at the time, and they screen for PSA, which is a prostate-specific antigen. 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. ’”
Aside from talking about his condition in this emotional interview, James also shared about the Friends reunion show, too. According to him, it didn’t feel that it was the right time to reveal his diagnosis. He said, “That was a celebration of 25 years. I didn’t want it to be like, ‘oh, and by the way, Gunther has cancer.'”
For him, his one big regret was that he never took his wifes’ advice. He says that his wife, Jennifer, had been urging him to go to the doctor for a checkup but that he didn’t listen. His cancer would’ve been caught much earlier if he only followed her advice.
Knowing that he has very limited time left in his life, he’s urging other people to go to the doctor for routine visits.
He says, “Next time you go in for a basic exam or your yearly checkup, please, ask your doctor for a PSA test.”
James is currently undergoing chemotherapy to fight cancer. And he is taking this time to urge men to get early screenings. He said, “There are other options available to men if they catch it before me. 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. ”
James says that during this trying times in his life, his ‘Friends’ costars have been reaching out to him to offer love and support.