Friends star James Michael Tyler’s manager and friend has given an update about the actor’s ongoing battle with stage 4 prostate cancer.
The 59-year-old told NBC’s Today on Monday that he was diagnosed back in September 2018 but it has since spread to other parts of his body, including his bones and spine.
Speaking to PEOPLE on Tuesday, Tyler’s manager Toni Benson said that he’s been responding well to treatment, saying: ‘He wants to live.’
‘He’s going to fight this,’ Benson told the publication. ‘Lately he’s been having amazing days. He’s done his second round of chemo and so far he is doing really well. And he’s hopeful it will be effective.’
‘He’s going to fight this’: Friends star James Michael Tyler’s manager says he’s responding well to chemo amid stage 4 prostate cancer battle (the actor pictured Monday)
Tyler, who appeared in all 10 seasons of Friends as the manager of the Central Perk coffee shop, can no longer walk after the aggressive cancer left his lower body paralyzed.
Iconic: Tyler appeared in all 10 seasons of Friends as Gunther. the manager of the Central Perk coffee shop
‘I was diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer, which had spread to my bones,’ Tyler said.
‘I’ve been dealing with that diagnosis for almost the past three years… It’s stage 4. Late stage cancer. So eventually, you know, it’s gonna probably get me.’
But his manager Benson says he remains optimistic, saying: ‘Though he’s wheelchair bound, he’s very mobile,’ adding: ‘He has the most amazing attitude… I don’t think he’s going anywhere for a long time.’
Benson went on to tell the outlet that ‘besides his wife, his main focus is changing people’s lives’ in raising public awareness of prostate cancer.
She explained: ‘It’s so important to be checked and he wants to spread the word. He’s feeling very positive.’
Tyler said Monday that doctors were optimistic when he was first diagnosed but the cancer started ‘mutating’ at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.
‘I missed going in for a test, which was not a good thing,’ Tyler said. ‘So the cancer decided to mutate at the time of the pandemic and so it’s progressed.’
Tyler, who is currently undergoing chemotherapy, said his illness stopped him from appearing in person for Friends: The Reunion, which aired last month on HBO.
Staying positive: In an Instagram post on Monday, Tyler wrote: ‘Just finished chemo round 2 last week! Thank you all so much for your outpouring of love and support’
He made an appearance via Zoom instead.
‘I wanted to be a part of that, and initially I was going to be on the stage, at least, with them, and be able to take part in all the festivities,’ Tyler said.
‘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, 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’.
Tyler said that many of his former castmates, as well as the show’s producers, are aware he has been battling cancer.
Emotional: Tyler’s manager said the actor is keen to raise public awareness about getting checked for prostate cancer
Battle: The 59-year-old told NBC’s Today on Monday that he was diagnosed back in September 2018 but it has since spread to other parts of his body
He also said his cancer was not caught early and was only detected during a routine check up three years ago.
In an Instagram post on Monday, Tyler wrote: ‘Just finished chemo round 2 last week! Thank you all so much for your outpouring of love and support.’
‘It means the world to me. Please click the link in my bio. Early detection can make all the difference. #pcf #prostatecancerawareness #prostatecancer #prostatecancerfoundation.’
Role: Tyler, who is currently undergoing chemotherapy, said his illness stopped him from appearing in person for Friends: The Reunion, which aired last month on HBO.