Actor James Michael Tyler is opening up about his years-long health battle for the first time.
In an interview with Today's Craig Melvin, Tyler—who played Jennifer Aniston's coffee shop manager Gunther on Friends—shared that he was diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer in September 2018 after a routine physical.
"I was 56 years old at the time, and they screen for PSA, which is prostate-specific antigen," he said on Today. "That came back at an extraordinarily high number...So I knew immediately when I went online and I saw the results of my blood test and blood work that there was obviously something quite wrong there. Nearly immediately, my doctor called me and said, 'Hey, I need you to come in tomorrow because I suspect that you may have quite a serious problem with your prostate.'"
As he soon learned, the cancer had spread to his bones. "For my specific prognosis, it's of course stage 4," he told Melvin. "Late stage cancer. So eventually, you know, it's gonna probably get me."
"I missed going in for a test, which was not a good thing," Tyler noted. "So the cancer decided to mutate at the time of the pandemic, and so it's progressed." According to Today, Tyler, who is undergoing chemotherapy, can no longer walk.
Tyler now wants to help others, urging men to ask for a PSA test at their next doctor's appointment. "There are other options available to men if they catch it before me," Tyler said on Today. "Next time you go in for just a basic exam or your yearly checkup, please ask your doctor for a PSA test. It's easily detectable."
Prior to sharing his health news publicly, Tyler appeared via Zoom during the Friends reunion, which aired in late May. "It was the most memorable 10 years of my life, honestly," he said of the show. "I could not have imagined just a better experience. All these guys were fantastic and just a joy to work with. It felt very, very special."
Take a look at the video above to see Tyler share his health journey and how his Friends family is supporting him.
(E! and NBC are both part of the NBCUniversal family.)