Friends stars Jennifer Aniston and Courteney Cox have led tributes to actor James Michael Tyler who has died aged 59 after being diagnosed with prostate cancer.
The star was beloved by millions of fans for his portrayal of Gunther, the quirky coffee shop manager with bleached hair and an unrequited love for Aniston’s Rachel.
Tyler died at his home in Los Angeles on Sunday (24 October), his representatives said.
Tributes have started to pour in after news broke of the actor’s death, with Aniston sharing a clip of herself and the actor in the final episode of Friends when Gunther declares his love for Rachel.
“Friends would not have been the same without you,” she 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.”
Cox, who played Monica, shared a picture of Tyler and 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.”
See more tributes from Friends stars and other people who worked with Tyler, below.
In June, Tyler revealed 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.
Earlier this year, his 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.
In a statement announcing his death, Tyler’s 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.”
Tyler was dubbed by many fans as the “seventh Friend” due to his ubiquity on the series.
While he was frequently seen milling about behind the counter at Central Perk, Gunther was also given plenty of his own memorable lines over the 10-year run of Friends.
After showing his love for Rachel for a decade, Gunther made a long-shot bid to woo the fashionista in the final episode of Friends, when she was preparing to depart for a new life in Paris.
Rachel rejected Gunther’s advances but let him down gently, telling him: “And, and when I’m in a cafe, having coffee, or I see a man with hair brighter than the sun, I’ll think of you. ”
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