'Friends' stars pay tribute to James Michael Tyler after he dies following cancer battle

By Zach Harper

'Friends' stars pay tribute to James Michael Tyler after he dies following cancer battle

James Michael Tyler, best known for playing barista Gunther on Friends, has passed away at age 59 following a battle with prostate cancer.

His Friends co-stars Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, David Schwimmer, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc and Matthew Perry were among the first to memorialize him, paying tribute to him on social media.

Jennifer shared a clip from the beloved series on her Instagram as she wrote about James's importance for the show. The video was from an episode where Gunther tells Rachel he loves her, just before Rachel moves to Paris. Rachel responds in a kind, empathetic and funny way as an annoyed Ross stands behind her.

"Friends would not have been the same without you," Jennifer wrote in the caption. "Than you for the laughter you brought to the show and to all of our lives. You will be so missed #JamesMichaelTyler."

Courteney shared a photo of James from the set as she wrote about the effect he'd had on the entire cast and crew.

"The size of gratitude you brought to the room and showed every day on set is the size of the gratitude I hold for having known you," she wrote. "Rest in peace, James."

David shared the same image with his message.

"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," he wrote. "You will be missed, buddy."

Mensch is a Yiddish expression that means someone of noble character, referring to compassion and kindness in particular. While it has its roots in the German word for "man" or "human," it refers to someone of any gender who we admire for qualities we aspire to exhibit ourselves.

"James Michael Tyler, we will miss you," Lisa wrote, sharing the same image. "Thank you for being there for us all."

Matt LeBlanc shared a screenshot of him with James from an episode, along with the same photo used by Courteney, David and Lisa.

"We had a lot of laughs, buddy," he wrote. "You will be missed. RIP my friend."

Matthew Perry opted to post his tribute on Twitter instead of Instagram.

"We lost a good Friend yesterday in James Michael Tyler," he wrote. "Gunther, you will be missed. Rest in peace."

James was diagnosed with stage four prostate cancer in 2018, and earlier this year he sadly revealed it had spread to his bones.

James appeared in 148 of Friends' 236 episodes, having more guest appearances than any other actor on the show.

Rest well, James. Thank you for bringing so much laughter and love to our lives.

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