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James Michael Tyler missed Friends reunion as he didn’t want cancer to be a ‘downer’

James Michael Tyler was determined not to let Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, David Schwimmer, Lisa Kudrow, Matt Le Blanc and Matthew Perry down but had to appear via Zoom for the good of the show

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James Michael Tyler stars as Gunther in Friends in 1997

James Michael Tyler sat out the Friends reunion from home because he wanted it just to be about the show.

The tragic actor passed away peacefully on Sunday morning following a battle with stage 4 prostate cancer after being diagnosed in 2018. He was 59.

Fans of the coffee-shop boss Gunther are heartbroken after his family announced the news last night.

He made his battle public before his death and said his “new role” was to educate people about the disease.

They got to see him on the HBO reunion alongside David Schwimmer, Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt Le Blanc, and Matthew Perry.

He decided to appear via Zoom so to not “bring a downer” on the show

James’ family announced his death on Sunday night

But he decided against appearing on the sofa with them – and came on via Zoom from his Los Angeles home instead.

A few weeks later, he said the reason for that was because he didn’t want it to become all about his cancer.

He felt turning up in person would have risked putting a “downer” on the celebrations.

James appeared in almost 150 episodes of the comedy, which ran on network NBC from 1994 to 2004.

He appeared in almost 150 episodes of the iconic comedy


NBCUniversal via Getty Images)

“I wanted to be a part of it, and initially I was going to be on the stage, at least with them and be able to take part in all the festivities,” he told TODAY’s Craig Melvin.

“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.

“It was 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 star said earlier this year in the interview that he enjoyed the opportunity to make his appearance “light-hearted” and to “connect with” the cast again.

His co-starts have started to pay tribute to the actor

She said his co-starts were aware of his illness – and added that the show’s producers had been supportive of him.

“That’s my only reason for coming out like this and letting people know,” he explained. “That’s my new role.”

His death was announced late on Sunday.

His family told TMZ : “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.”

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