Jennifer Aniston leads heartbreaking tributes from Friends cast to James Michael Tyler

Lisa Kudrow says her son was 'obsessed' with Jennifer Aniston

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Jennifer Aniston, 52, was among the first to pay tributes to her fellow Friends co-star James Michael Tyler, who sadly died peacefully in his sleep on Sunday 24 October, after battling stage 4 prostate cancer. James played Gunther on the hit US sitcom, and the actress admitted the show wouldn’t have been the same without him.

Thank you for the laughter you brought to the show and to all of our lives

Jennifer Aniston

Taking to Instagram, the Rachel Greene actress shared a series of snaps of her pal, penning a touching tribute alongside them.

“Friends would not have been the same without you.

“Thank you for the laughter you brought to the show and to all of our lives.

“You will be so missed,” she added, with the hashtag #JamesMichaelTyler and a broken heart emoji.

Courtney Cox, who played Monica Geller on the show, also paid her respects.

“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,” she said.

“Rest In peace James.”

Joey Tribbiani star Matt LeBlanc also shared shots of James on the show, writing: “We had a lot of laughs buddy. You will be missed. RIP my friend.”

And Lisa Kudrow, who portrayed the wacky Phoebe Buffay said: “James Michael Tyler, we will miss you. Thank you for being there for us all.”

News broke of the actors death late on Sunday night, with his family confirming their loss in a statement.

It read: “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.”

The actor, who played the no-nonsense coffee shop worker, was one of the most loved minor characters in Friends.

He often starred in scenes with the big names of the show as the barista at Central Perk coffee shop where the gang would hang out, boasting a long-running lust for Jennifer’s character Rachel.

He was first diagnosed with cancer in 2018, but kept his diagnosis private for three years as he underwent chemotherapy to try and beat it.

In June, Tyler spoke about his devastating health issues on NBC’s Today show.

He told TV host Craig Melvin: “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.”

James said that doctors were optimistic when he was first diagnosed but the cancer started “mutating” after he missed an appointment and test amid the pandemic.

He explained: “I missed going in for a test, which was not a good thing.”

He continued: “The cancer decided to mutate at the time of the pandemic and so it’s progressed.”

The TV star emphasised that prostate cancer is “easily treatable” if it’s caught early.

“I don’t want people to have to go through what I’ve been going through. This is not an easy process,” he said.

He later added: “It’s made me, personally, just realise how important every moment is, every day. And fighting.

“Don’t give up. Keep fighting. Keep yourself as light as possible. And have goals. Set goals.”

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