James Michael Tyler, who is best known for his role as Gunther on Friends, has recently revealed that he was diagnosed with prostate cancer in September 2018.
In an interview with NBC’s Today show, the 59-year-old said his doctors diagnosed the disease after a routine physical examination.
His cancer has spread to bones and now he can no longer walk. Currently, he is undergoing chemotherapy.
Tyler told host Craig Melvin, “Eventually, you know, it’s gonna probably get me.”
Talking about his prostate cancer, he said, “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,” he continued, “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 missed another test during the pandemic and his cancer spread to his bones, he revealed, which is now at stage four.
He said, “Late-stage cancer. So eventually, you know, it’s gonna probably get me.”
Tyler urged other men to get themselves checked out at their next doctor’s appointment, stating, “There are other options available to men if they catch it before me.”
He had a brief appearance on the Friends reunion special last month via Zoom. He said of the show, “It was the most memorable 10 years of my life, honestly. I could not have imagined just a better experience. All these guys were fantastic and just a joy to work with. It felt very, very special.”
Tyler did not speak about his diagnosis during the reunion, stating, “I didn’t want it to be like ‘Oh, and by the way, Gunther has cancer.’”
However, he said the other cast members knew of his diagnosis. He said, “David Schwimmer [Ross] has corresponded with me via Instagram. The producers are aware, they’ve been aware for a long time.”
The Today show displayed some photos of Tyler’s home life during the interview, including him using a wheelchair. The actor became emotional as he spoke.
Melvin asked Tyler if he wished he had done anything differently. Tyler replied, “I would have listened to my wonderful wife – who has been my absolute strength throughout all of this. I would’ve gone in earlier and it would’ve been hopefully caught earlier.”