‘Friends’ Stars Mourn James Michael Tyler’s Death: ‘Thank You for Being There for Us All’

“Friends would not have been the same without you,” Jennifer Aniston writes


The cast and creators of “Friends” are paying tribute to their former co-star James Michael Tyler, who played Central Perk barista Gunther on the beloved sitcom. Tyler died Sunday morning at the age of 59.

Tyler was diagnosed with late-stage prostate cancer in September 2018, which later spread to his bones. “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,” his manager, Toni Benson, said.

Late Sunday night, most of the core cast of “Friends” posted tributes to Tyler on Instagram. Jennifer Aniston, who played Rachel — the object of Gunther’s unreturned affection — posted a clip of the characters’ final interaction, when Gunther finally admits his feelings for her, alongside a photo of Tyler in character.

“Friends would not have been the same without you,” Aniston wrote. “Thank you for the laughter you brought to the show and to all of our lives. You will be so missed.”

Courteney Cox, who played Monica on “Friends,” shared the same photo, captioning it: “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, who brought Phoebe to eccentric life, referenced the show’s iconic theme song by The Rembrandts in her tribute. “James Michael Tyler, we will miss you,” she wrote. “Thank you for being there for us all.”

Matt LeBlanc, who starred as Joey Tribbiani for the series’ run, 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,” LeBlanc captioned the post.

David Schwimmer, who played Ross Geller — often the main subject of Gunther’s ire, considering their mutual affections for Rachel — called Tyler a “big-hearted gentleman.”

“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,” Schwimmer wrote. “You will be missed, buddy.”

“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,” “Friends” co-creators Marta Kauffman and David Crane said in a statement. “He made Gunther’s unrequited love incredibly relatable. Our heart goes out to his wife, Jennifer Carno.”

You can check out all the “Friends” cast members’ tributes to Tyler below.