Matthew Perry’s Cause of Death Revealed as ‘Acute Effects of Ketamine’
Matthew Perry died from “the acute effects of ketamine,” according to the toxicology report from the Los Angeles County Medical Examiner’s Office. The exact method of intake is unknown. Contributing factors in the “Friends” actor’s death included drowning, coronary artery disease and the effects of buprenorphine (used to treat opioid use disorder). The manner of death was ruled an accident.
Perry had been undergoing ketamine infusion therapy prior to his death, reportedly for depression and anxiety. The toxicology report adds: “At the high levels of ketamine found in his postmortem blood specimens, the main lethal effects would be from both cardiovascular overstimulation and respiratory depression.”
Perry died on Saturday, Oct. 28, 2023. Authorities arrived at his home in Los Angeles around 4 p.m. and found him in a hot tub, according to the Los Angeles Times. There were no signs of foul play or drugs at the scene. First responders were called for a cardiac arrest, according to TMZ, which first reported the news.
Perry was best known for playing the hilarious, sarcastic Chandler Bing on “Friends” in the ’90s and early 2000s. He starred in more than 200 episodes of the NBC sitcom across 10 seasons.
“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,” Perry’s “Friends” cast members Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc and David Schwimmer 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.”
Perry’s “Friends” co-stars would each go on to share personal tributes to the actor, with Aniston exclusively telling Variety that she texted with him on the day of his death.
“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.”
Courteney Cox personally remembered Perry by sharing to Instagram a blooper video of the two actors from the “Friends” set.
“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 favorites.”
“To give a little backstory, Chandler and Monica were supposed to have a one night fling in London,” she added. “But because of the audience’s reaction, it became the beginning of their love story. In this scene, before we started rolling, he whispered a funny line for me to say. He often did things like that. He was funny and he was kind.”
Matt LeBlanc wrote on Instagram that “the times we had together are honestly among the favorite times of my life,” adding: “It was an honor 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.”
Perry had been outspoken about his struggles with alcohol and drug addiction in his career and published his memoir, “Friends, Lovers and the big Terrible Thing,” in 2022. After the news of his death, the Matthew Perry Foundation was established to help individuals dealing with addiction.
“In the spirit of Matthew Perry’s enduring commitment to helping others struggling with the disease of addiction, we embark on a journey to honor his legacy by establishing the Matthew Perry Foundation, guided by his own words and experiences, and driven by his passion for making a difference in as many lives as possible,” the foundation’s inaugural statement read.
In a tribute to the actor, Variety‘s chief correspondent Daniel D’Addario wrote: “His memoir, published just last year, describes his emerging from a childhood in which he abused alcohol into a TV set on which he was, often, in active crisis. ‘Friends’ will always be alternately funny and heartwarming, to the many millions on its wavelength. The struggles that Perry went through in order to perform a character whose jockeying wit overlays clear sadness seem, now, all the more apparent.”