How did Matthew Perry die? Friends star’s illness and cause of death explained as actor passed away at home

Matthew Perry, best known for playing Chandler Bing on Friends, died at his California home aged 54
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Matthew Perry, star of Friends, The Odd Couple, and Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, died at his Los Angeles home on Saturday, aged 54.

Tributes from entertainment stars, world leaders, and fans have poured in for the beloved actor, who was best known for his role as Chandler Bing in iconic ‘90s sitcom Friends alongside Jennifer Aniston, David Schwimmer, Courtney Cox, Matt LeBlanc, and Lisa Kudrow.

The troubled star battled drug addiction for much of his time on the show, and in the decades after if finished, writing candidly about his journey in his autobiography Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing.

In the book he wrote that if he died, ‘it wouldn’t surprise anybody’, but following the comic actor’s death, the cause has not yet been determined to be related to drug use.

Friends star Matthew Perry died at his Los Angeles home in his hot tub, aged 54Friends star Matthew Perry died at his Los Angeles home in his hot tub, aged 54
Friends star Matthew Perry died at his Los Angeles home in his hot tub, aged 54

What illness did Matthew Perry have?

Perry had a decades long struggle with drug addiction, and wrote in his autobiography that 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.

Another near death experience came when he took an opioid ahead of surgery, causing his heart to stop for five minutes, and receiving CPR that broke eight ribs. As a result of the overdose he missed out on a part in the Netflix film Don’t Look Up, alongside Meryl Streep.

The star debated conservative British journalist Peter Hitchens about addiction, with the latter claiming not to believe in drug dependency as a disease, in an 2013 interview that has circulated online following Perry’s death.

Despite Perry’s well documented struggles with addiction, it has not been confirmed that drugs played a part in his tragic death last week.

Tributes to Matthew Perry were left outside the 'Friends' apartment building in New YorkTributes to Matthew Perry were left outside the 'Friends' apartment building in New York
Tributes to Matthew Perry were left outside the 'Friends' apartment building in New York

How did Matthew Perry die?

Perry died in an apparent drowning incident in a hot tub at his home in Los Angeles, California on Saturday 28 October, aged 54. He had reportedly been playing pickleball (an American sport similar to tennis) for two hours before he returned home and entered the hot tub.

Authorities responded to a 911 call around 4pm local time and attended his home where he was unresponsive when he was found. A cause of death has not yet been confirmed, but sources said that no drugs were found at the property. Foul play is not suspected.

A toxicology test will be part of the investigation and The Times reported a source claiming that prescription medication was recovered from the star’s home.

The cause of death will be determined by the Los Angeles County coroner’s office, which on Sunday officially deferred its finding pending further testing.

The use of a hot tub following could lead to unconsciousness and drowning. It is not yet known if Perry took any form of drugs prior to his death, but this will be determined in the toxicology report.

Confirmation of Perry’s official cause of death has been deferred pending the results of the toxicology report, which is expected to take weeks to complete.

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