“Friends” star Matthew Perry was pronounced dead Saturday evening in his Los Angeles home following a 911 call for a “water emergency.”
Authorities responded to Perry’s home at 4:07 p.m., where he was found unresponsive in a standalone hot tub. Perry had openly struggled with alcohol and drug abuse but official reports say there were no drugs found at the scene. However, one source did report that prescription medications were among some of the recovered items.
Los Angeles Police Capt. Scot Williams, who leads the Robbery Homicide Division investigating Perry’s death, said the “cause of death may not be known for some time, but at this point foul play is not suspected.” 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.
As of Thursday, November 2nd, an autopsy has been conducted and initial results found that neither Fentanyl nor Meth were found in the actor’s system. Examiners say they are still awaiting the results of the full toxicology reports to officially determine Perry’s cause of death, which could take weeks.
Former chief medical examiner of New York City and forensic pathologist, Dr. Michael Baden, told Fox News Digital that if Perry had died of natural causes, such as a heart attack or stroke, it would have been apparent and announced in early autopsy reports. Since the autopsy and initial toxicology report have been completed, an order for additional testing “indicates that for some reason they’re holding up the rest of it.”
As of now, while the world waits on further reports, family, friends, and fans alike are left to mourn a beloved friend. In a statement to PEOPLE magazine, Perry’s family sent a message to the fans: “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.”
Previous Struggles With Substance Abuse
Matthew Perry did not shy away from discussing his struggles with drug and alcohol abuse, and recently shared his story about addiction and recovery in his memoir, titled “Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing: A Memoir,” which was released in November 2022.
During the height of his career on “Friends,” Perry said that he was battling severe addiction to alcohol and Opioids, specifically Vicodin, which he was given to help treat pain after a 1997 jet skiing accident. His addiction to Vicodin only grew from there, and, in his memoir, he revealed that at one point he was taking up to 55 pills a day and weighed an unhealthy 128 pounds.
However, Perry had struggled with alcohol abuse long before this, as he had started drinking and misusing alcohol when he was young. He remembered taking his first drink at the age of 14 and, by the age of 18, he was drinking regularly. When combined with his addiction to Opioids, his polysubstance addiction was so encompassing that he admitted to being unable to even remember filming seasons 3-6 of Friends.
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Perry Had Many Health Issues Caused By Substance Abuse
Perry had various health struggles over the years that his doctors often contributed to his substance abuse. In 2000, Perry was hospitalized with pancreatitis, a condition often attributed to alcohol and prescription Opioid abuse, the two specific disorders that Perry struggled with. He was in and out of the hospital with various ailments after that, including multiple stomach surgeries.
However, it was not until 2018 when, after waking up in a hospital bed with no recollection of how he got there, Perry knew he needed to make a drastic change in his lifestyle. His colon had burst due to the severe misuse of OxyContin, a powerful and addictive prescription Opioid, and he had been in a coma for two months.
“The doctors told my family that I had a 2% chance to live,” Perry recalled, and admitted that’s when he knew he needed to make a drastic lifestyle change and started his journey towards sobriety once again.
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Perry estimated that over his decades-long battle with drug and alcohol abuse, he had spent over $9 million dollars on substance abuse treatment and had been in and out of rehab 15 times. However, after his 2018 medical scare, he knew he had to get serious about recovery, and in October 2022, he told the New York Times that he had been sober since early 2021.
His personal journey had always caused him to have a specific affinity for other’s who were in the same situation and, in 2015, Perry devoted his life and resources to helping others get clean by turning his former Malibu beach home into a sober living home for men. This retreat was open from 2013-2015 and solidified his journey to help others in their recovery.
He was an ambassador for the All Rise organization, which encourages the justice system to focus on interception and recovery methods instead of incarceration for those struggling with addiction and legal issues.
It was also reported that at the time of his passing he was planning on starting a foundation aimed at helping others who struggled with substance abuse. Perry found joy in helping others and, while on the “Q With Tom Power” podcast, summed it up nicely: “The best thing about me, bar none, is that if somebody comes to me and says, ‘I can’t stop drinking, can you help me?’ I can say ‘yes’ and follow up and do it.”
Perry will be remembered by many as a beloved friend and avid supporter for those who struggle but courageously continue to move forward on their journey to an addiction free life.
Get Help For Addiction
Matthew Perry’s story is a solemn reminder that addiction is a life-long battle. If you or someone you love need help for a substance use disorder, do not wait.
Jessica Sherer earned her B.A. in English from Ashford University and has over eight years of copyediting experience in healthcare education. Dedicated to providing clear and useful information, she hopes her work will help to support those affected by addiction.
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