James Michael Tyler, known for his role as Gunther on the sitcom

Friends

, has confirmed in an interview with

Today

that he suffers from prostate cancer.

The disease was diagnosed with the 59-year-old actor in September 2018, but he kept it a secret from the general public all along.

Tyler says the cancer was found during an annual check-up.

In the beginning he underwent hormone therapy and he said he was still able to lead his life just fine.

"I felt good, really. I had no symptoms and felt nothing. It was very easy to deal with," said the actor.

Eventually, during the corona pandemic, the cancer mutated and the disease left Tyler's lower body paralyzed.

He is currently undergoing chemotherapy.

Due to his illness, Tyler was also unable to attend the

Friends

reunion in person recently. He then appeared online via Zoom to catch up with the cast. The actor calls it a "bittersweet" experience. "I was really glad they involved me, but it was my own decision not to be there physically. I didn't want to ruin the atmosphere, you know? It's like, 'Oh, by the way, Gunther has cancer.'"

By sharing his story now, Tyler hopes to warn other men. "If you catch it early, it's very treatable," he emphasizes. "I don't want people to go through the same thing as me. This is not an easy process." The actor hopes to save at least "a life" with this. "That's why I'm telling this so people know. This is my new role."

Keywords: