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'Friends' Star Matthew Perry Died From Acute Effects of Ketamine, Autopsy Says

Globally acclaimed actor Matthew Perry, known for his portrayal of the beloved, quick-witted Chandler Bing on the iconic TV show "Friends," passed away at 54. Perry was found deceased at his Pacific Palisades residence in Los Angeles, California, on October 28, 2023.


According to the toxicology report from the Los Angeles County Medical Examiner’s Office, Perry’s cause of death was attributed to “the acute effects of ketamine."

The report indicated high levels of ketamine in postmortem blood specimens, resulting in cardiovascular overstimulation and respiratory depression. It was further compounded by drowning, coronary artery disease, and the effects of buprenorphine, used for opioid use disorder treatment.


The medical examiner ruled the manner of death as accidental. Perry had been undergoing ketamine infusion therapy for depression and anxiety as a treatment approach before his untimely demise, although the exact method of intake remains unknown.

The tragic incident unfolded on Saturday, October 28, 2023, when authorities responded to a distress call at his Los Angeles home around 4 p.m. Perry was discovered in a hot tub at his residence; however, nothing indicated signs of foul play or drug presence at the scene, according to authorities. First responders were summoned due to a reported cardiac arrest, as per TMZ, which first broke the news.


Matthew Langford Perry, born on August 19, 1969, in Williamstown, Massachusetts, had carved his path to fame from his teenage years in Ottawa, Canada, relocating to Los Angeles to pursue acting.


Later, he became a pivotal figure in the entertainment industry, touching the hearts of millions. His astonishing performance as Chandler Bing, which he effortlessly brought to life from 1994 to 2004, propelled him to global fame and adoration.


Apart from that, Perry appeared in several television shows and movies, showcasing his versatile acting prowess. Despite Perry's professional triumphs, he grappled publicly with substance abuse for many years, chronicling his battles with addiction in a poignant, candid memoir.


His struggles stemmed from a prolonged history of addiction to painkillers and alcohol, leading to health complications such as a ruptured colon and multiple surgeries, ultimately shaping his determination to embrace sobriety.


He is survived by his family, friends, and a legion of devoted fans who mourn the loss of a cherished actor and a beacon of hope in the fight against addiction.


The devastating news prompted heartfelt tributes from Perry's "Friends" co-stars—Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, and David Schwimmer—who expressed profound grief and acknowledged Perry's significance as more than just a colleague but a family member.


“We are all so utterly devastated by the loss of Matthew. We were more than just cast mates. We are a family. There is so much to say, but right now we’re going to take a moment to grieve and process this unfathomable loss,” “Friends” cast members wrote in a statement following the news of his death. “In time, we will say more, as and when we are able. For now, our thoughts and our love are with Matty’s family, his friends, and everyone who loved him around the world.”


Courteney Cox personally honoured Perry by sharing on Instagram a blooper video of the two actors from the show, highlighting his humour and kindness behind the scenes. “I am so grateful for every moment I had with you, Matty, and I miss you every day,” Cox wrote. “When you work with someone as closely as I did with Matthew, there are thousands of moments I wish I could share. For now, here’s one of my favourites.”


Jennifer Aniston, in an exclusive conversation with Variety, shared heart-stirring details of her last communication with Perry, describing him as content, healthy, and joyful in his final moments. “He was happy. He was healthy. He had quit smoking. He was getting in shape. He was happy—that's all I know,” Aniston said. “I was literally texting with him that morning, funny Matty. He was not in pain. He wasn’t struggling. He was happy.”


Matt LeBlanc wrote on Instagram that “the times we had together are honestly among the favourite times of my life". He said:


"Matthew, it is with a heavy heart I say goodbye. The times we had together are honestly among my favourite times of my life. It was an honour to share the stage with you and to call you my friend. I will always smile when I think of you and I’ll never forget you. Never.


Spread your wings and fly brother you’re finally free. Much love. And I guess you’re keeping the 20 bucks you owe me."


 


Finally, this tribute would not be complete without Chandler's best friend, Ross. Schwimmer penned on his Instagram:


"Matty, Thank you for ten incredible years of laughter and creativity.


I will never forget your impeccable comic timing and delivery. You could take a straight line of dialogue and bend it to your will, resulting in something so entirely original and unexpectedly funny it still astonishes you. And you had heart. Which you were generous with, and shared with us, so we could create a family out of six strangers.


This photo is from one of my favourite moments with you. Now it makes me smile and grieve at the same time. I imagine you up there, somewhere, in the same white suit, hands in your pockets, looking around— “Could there BE any more clouds?”


That embodied the true essence of Chandler Bing like nothing else could!


Matthew Perry's legacy is a testament to his enduring impact on both the entertainment world and the millions of lives he touched. Beyond his on-screen brilliance, Perry's portrayal of Chandler Bing, with its blend of humour and depth, mirrored the battles he courageously faced off-camera.


His laughter brought joy to countless hearts across generations, but his legacy goes beyond that, inspiring hope through his unwavering determination.


Through the foundation established in his honour, his commitment to aiding those battling addiction will continue to make a difference. As we bid farewell, we hold on to his warmth and humour, dearly missing a remarkable soul.


Rest in peace, Matthew Perry. Your legacy lives on in the hearts you've touched and the lives you've forever changed!


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