James Michael Tyler, who’s best known for playing Central Perk manager Gunther on Friends, revealed he’s battling stage 4 prostate cancer.
The actor discussed his diagnosis on Today and said he was first diagnosed in September 2018 during his annual physical.
“I was diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer, which had spread to my bones. I’ve been dealing with that diagnosis for almost the past three years. … It’s stage 4 (now). Late stage cancer. So eventually, you know, it’s gonna probably get me,” said Tyler.
He detailed, “I was 56 years old at the time, and they screen for PSA, which is 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.'”
Tyler’s cancer spread to his spine and resulted in paralysis of his lower body around the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic. His health was the reason he was only able to appear via video chat during the Friends reunion special on HBO Max. Tyler wanted to appear on stage with the cast, but he said, “…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.'”
Tyler urges all men to get screened saying, “A lot of men, if they catch this early, it’s easily treatable. I don’t want people to have to go through what I’ve been going through. This is not … an easy process.”