Matthew Perry death: News recap of main events since Friends star died including funeral and co-star tributes
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The showbiz world was rocked recently by the sad news that Friends actor Matthew Perry had suddenly died.
The Emmy-nominated actor, aged 54, was reportedly found dead due to an apparent drowning at his home in Pacific Palisades, Los Angeles, on Saturday 28 October. According to the Los Angeles Police Department, officers responded to a death investigation at the home of a man in his 50s, later identified as Perry. At the time of writing, on 2 November, the official cause of Perry's death still remains unknown. On Sunday (29 October), the LA County Medical Examiner’s office updated their file to say the case had been deferred, meaning the post-mortem is complete but more detail is needed.
Most people know Perry for his portrayal of the sarcastic yet endearing Chandler Bing in the hit US sitcom Friends, which became a cultural phenomenon. Perry Perry rose to fame, alongside his co-stars Jennifer Aniston (Rachel Green), Courteney Cox (Monica Geller/Bing), David Schwimmer (Ross Geller), Lisa Kudrow (Phoebe Buffay) and Matt LeBlanc (Joey Tribbiani), who all established themselves as prominent figures in Hollywood.
The show, which ran from 1994 to 2004, is still a fan favourite today and has won fans that span generations. It remains so popular to this day that reruns of the show earn each of the principle cast members an annual income of $20m (around £16,497,640).
Family friends and lovers
Shortly after Perry's death, his father, actor John Bennett Perry, his mother Suzanne Marie and stepfather Keith Morrison were seen looking grief stricken arriving at his home. Although Matthew Perry was born in Massachusetts, he was brought up in Canada by his mother Suzanne Marie as his parents divorced when he was only one. In the days that followed, his ex-fiancée Molly Hurwitz paid tribute to her former partner. The pair started dating in 2018 and got engaged in 2020, but they split six months later in June 2021.
American-Canadian actor Perry revealed in his 2022 memoir ‘Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing’ that he previously dated Hollywood A-listers including Gwyneth Paltrow, Julia Roberts, Neve Campbell and Lizzy Caplan but appears to have only been engaged once. He never married or had children and it is not believed he was dating anyone at the time of his death.
In an Instagram post literary manager Hurwitz age 32, shared an image of a black silhouette appearing to be the late actor standing in front of a snowy European city scene. She wrote the caption: “While I loved him deeper than I could comprehend, he was complicated, and he caused pain like I’d never known. No one in my adult life has had a more profound impact on me than Matthew Langford Perry. I have tremendous gratitude for that, for everything I learned from our relationship."
She added: "I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Al Anon, an invaluable resource for those who love someone struggling with this destructive disease. Matty, I feel relief that you are at peace. Sincerely, Moll-o-Rama(…fication)”
Battles with drugs and alcohol
In talking of a destructive disease, Hurwitz was talking about Perry's well-documented and self-confessed struggles with alcohol and drugs. In the past, Perry was open about his struggles with drug addiction, being vocal on the subject both on Newsnight with Peter Hitchins and in his memoir. In his book, he revealed that he almost died after years of alcohol and opioid abuse.
During an interview with People Magazine in 2022, Perry revealed that his addiction began in 2007 after being prescribed vicodin as a painkiller. In his book, he mentions his use of Xanax, OxyContin, Dilaudid, methadone, buprenorphine/suboxone, cocaine, and vodka. He also spoke about two near death experiences, including an occasion when his colon erupted in 2019 due to an opioid overdose that put him into a coma. He had a 2% chance of survival but came through surgery, and had to use a colostomy bag for nine months. In addtion, he wrote that if he died, ‘it wouldn’t surprise anybody’.
Perry, who wanted to be remembered for his efforts to raise awareness of alcohol and drug abuse and help others suffering with addiction alongside his role as Chandler Bing, also spoke openly about the issue in his last TikTok video, which was posted just hours before his death.
Speaking to the camera, said: "I've been asked to give any general life advice, which is kind of funny that I've been asked to do that. 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." He also added that "There's a very famous kind of line that people don't change. I happen to know that people do change and I see that every day. I see people getting better."
Goodbye Chandler Bing
Many people paid tribute to Perry in the hours and days after his death, and fans found their own way to honour him by taking the 'goodbye Chandler Bing' sound clip from Friends, as spoken by his character's on-off girlfriend Janice, and created their own videos using it on TikTok. The world, however, was waiting to hear from Perry's Friends co-stars. Aniston, Cox, Schwimmer, Kudrow and LeBlanc issued a joint statement two days after Perry died, on Monday 30 October.
They said that they were "utterly devastated" by Perry's passing. The statement said: “We are all so utterly devastated by the loss of Matthew. 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. It concluded: "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.”
Sleep well Mattman
Also paying tribute in the days following the shock death was Perry's assistant, Briana Brancato. In his memoir, Perry described his close - platonic - friendship with his Brancato, although he doesn't name her directly only using the pseudonym 'Erin'. Brancato uploaded an Instagram post with several images and video clips of the actor and herself. One image sees them both sitting on the coach smiling together.
She wrote in the caption: “My heart is heavy, but celebrating my memories is the most profound way to honour his legacy. I hope that up there, in the great beyond, Mattman is sending us signs. We truly need them. You'll forever be in my heart. I love you Matty.” The Friends actor was reportedly found unresponsive in his jacuzzi by his assistant - although it has not been confirmed whether or not this was Brancato.
The Mattman nickname that Brancato used was referring to the fact that Perry was known to have a love of superhero Batman, and he actually gave himself the name Mattman. In fact, his last seven Instagram posts were all related to the DC hero. In one post he shared an image of his jacuzzi with Batman sign lit up in red at the bottom of it and wrote “Sleep well everybody, I've got the city tonight -Mattman.” The final lines of his memoir are: “Someday you, too, might be called upon to do something important, so be ready for it, "And when whatever happens, just think, "What would Batman do? " and do that."
Now, Perry's family are beginning to make plans for his funeral. As of yet, however, there are no concrete plans for the ceremony, including date or location. Ina statement, his family, who are undertaking funeral arrangements, said: "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. You all meant so much to him and we appreciate the tremendous outpouring of love."