Matthew Perry, best known for his role as Chandler Bing in ten seasons of the sitcom Friends, has passed away aged 54. The news broke overnight on 28 October, with reports suggesting that Perry had been found dead at his home. Then, his representative confirmed the sad news to NBC News, and a Los Angeles fire department spokesperson confirmed first responders were called to Perry’s home in Pacific Palisades about a 'water emergency'. According to a report by TMZ, it's thought that Perry had drowned in his hot tub, though no official cause of death has been officially been confirmed.
On 30 October, Perry's former castmates on Friends - Jennifer Aniston, Lisa Kudrow, Courteney Cox, David Schwimmer and Matt LebLanc - gave a joint statement to PEOPLE:
'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.
'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.'
The statement follows an outpouring of tributes from Perry's friends and former co-stars. Many have shared treasured memories of the actor, who had been in the industry for three decades. Maggie Wheeler, who played Chandler’s girlfriend Janice in Friends, said the joy Perry brought to 'so many' in his 'too short lifetime will live on', adding, 'I feel so very blessed by every creative moment we shared.'
Selma Blair described Perry as 'my oldest boy friend', adding on an Instagram post of a sweet selfie of the pair, 'All of us loved Matthew Perry, and I did especially. Every day. I loved him unconditionally. And he me. And I’m broken. Broken hearted. Sweet dreams Matty. Sweet dreams.'
Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau, who knew Perry when his mother worked as an aide to his father, Canadian prime minister Pierre Trudeau, said, 'I’ll never forget the schoolyard games we used to play, and I know people around the world are never going to forget the joy he brought them. Thanks for all the laughs, Matthew. You were loved – and you will be missed.'
90210 actress Shannen Doherty remembered some of her fondest memories with Perry. She wrote on Instagram, 'You would always find us all together in a booth speaking in our own made up language. And yes, Matt always had THAT sense of humor [sic].' She told her fans, 'Our friendship spanned a long time. A lifetime really. I know many are hurting, especially our little gang. He will be missed by many and definitely by us. Yes. I could be more poetic or say things better but right now, shock and sadness prevail.'
Warner Bros Television Group, which produced Friends during its 1994 to 2004 run, said in a statement: 'We are devastated by the passing of our dear friend Matthew Perry. Matthew was an incredibly gifted actor and an indelible part of the Warner Bros Television Group family. 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.'
Whilst there is no suggestion his death was drink or drug related, Perry's battles with alcohol and drug abuse have been well-documented both in the press and by himself in his best-selling book, published at the end of last year. In Friends, Lovers and the Big Terrible Thing, Perry admits that he had spent around $9 million 'trying to get sober', having spent years taking Vicodin, Xanax and OxyContin; this was something he had achieved by the time the Friends reunion aired in May 2021. The dedication at the front of the book reads: 'For all of the sufferers out there. You know who you are.'
The official Friends account on X, formerly known as Twitter, shared: 'We are devastated to learn of Matthew Perry’s passing. He was a true gift to us all. Our heart goes out to his family, loved ones, and all of his fans.'