The actor who portrayed Gunther in Friends has revealed he has been diagnosed with stage 4 prostate cancer since 2018.

James Michael Tyler who played Rachel’s admirer, Gunther, in the hit sit-com shared the news on Monday.

Tyler was an ever-present in the show, starring in all 10 seasons as the manager of the Central Perk coffee shop, an integral part of Friends.

The 59-year-old told NBC’s Today that the cancer had left his lower body paralysed after it spread to bones and is spine.

He said: "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. Late stage cancer. So eventually, you know, it's gonna probably get me."

Doctors were initially optimistic following his diagnosis, however the cancer started to mutate at the beginning of the global coronavirus pandemic.

"I missed going in for a test, which was not a good thing," he said.

"So the cancer decided to mutate at the time of the pandemic and so it's progressed."

James tragically revealed how the illness had prevented him from being a part of Friends: The Reunion in the way that he had hoped last month while he undergoes chemotherapy.

He said: "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.

"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'."