Friends star, Matthew Perry, was found dead in his Los Angeles home on Saturday after his assistant found him unconscious in his hot tub. She called first responders to the scene, who later declared him dead (The Mirror, 2023).
The exact cause of death is not yet disclosed, but it is clear he drowned in his jacuzzi. Police found no illegal drugs in his home, only those prescribed.
Perry’s family released a statement shortly after the news:
“We are heartbroken by the tragic loss of our beloved son and brother. [...] Matthew brought so much joy to the world, both as an actor and a friend.” (Sky News, 2023).
Perry was famous for his role on Friends, alongside co-stars Jennifer Anniston, Courtney Cox, Matt Le Blanc, Lisa Kudrow, and David Schwimmer. Perry played the funny and socially awkward but loyal friend Chandler, who was best known for his intonations - “could I be any more missed?”
The star went on to struggle with alcohol and opioid addictions that had him rapidly fluctuating in health and weight even while on the set of Friends. In fact, by January 2022, Perry had undergone a total of fourteen surgeries related to his drug addictions and had been to rehab over fifteen times, costing the actor over $9 million in his recovery journey (Vanity Fair, 2022).
Friends ran on NBC for ten years from 1994 to 2004, and filmed over 236 episodes (The Guardian, 2023). In recent years, the actor came out to publicly talk about his struggles and released his memoir in 2022: Friends, Lovers, and The Big Terrible Thing. In the book, he went into detail about his addictions and the love he had for his co-stars, particularly “Jenny” Aniston, who he confessed to being in love with while filming Friends.
Perry’s memoir had him describe himself as a “just-add-water” alcoholic, and how his addiction to drugs began after a jetski accident, and he was hooked.
Before his death, Perry announced the reason for being so candid about his struggles with alcohol and drugs was because “I want people to understand that they're not alone. That there are other people feeling exactly the way they're feeling. [...] That their behaviour is not insane, that they have a disease and it's not their fault. There's a very famous line that people don't change. I happen to know that people do change.” (Daily Mail, 2023).
Warner Brother’s Television Group, who produced Friends, paid tribute in a statement to the late actor:
“The impact of his comedic genius was felt around the world, and his legacy will live on in the hearts of so many. This is a heartbreaking day, and we send our love to his family, his loved ones, and all of his devoted fans.”
More celebrities who knew Perry have come forward to pay tribute to the struggling soul. Maggie Wheeler, who played Janice on Friends, known for her outrageous laugh, posted an image of her with Perry on Instagram, with the caption:
“What a loss. The world will miss you Matthew Perry. The joy you brought to so many in your too short lifetime will live on. I feel so very blessed by every creative moment we shared.”
The main members of the Friends cast (Jennifer Aniston, Lisa Kudrow, Matt Le Blanc, and David Schwimmer) have since released a joint statement.
“We are all so utterly devastated by the loss of Matthew,” the five actors said. “We were more than just castmates. 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. 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.”
In a recent interview, Perry was asked how he would like to be remembered. The actor surprised most by giving an earnest and thoughtful answer:
“I would like to be remembered as somebody who lived well, loved well, was a seeker, and his paramount thing is that he wants to help people.”
Edited by: Anwen Venn
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