Actor Matthew Perry, known for his role in “Friends,” passed away at the age of 54 due to an unintentional overdose of ketamine, according to medical examiners who concluded their inquiry into the beloved but troubled TV star’s death. Perry, who portrayed Chandler Bing on the popular sitcom from 1994 to 2004, was discovered unconscious in his Los Angeles home swimming pool in October.
Despite grappling with a lengthy history of substance abuse, including ketamine, and associated health challenges, Perry had reportedly maintained sobriety for 19 months leading up to his demise.
The Los Angeles County Medical Examiner’s Office stated, “Matthew Perry’s cause of death is attributed to the acute effects of ketamine. Contributing factors include drowning, coronary artery disease, and buprenorphine effects. The manner of death is deemed accidental.”
Ketamine, known for its illicit use as a recreational drug for its anesthetic and hallucinogenic properties, is also under investigation by researchers for potential mental health applications.
In his memoirs, Perry candidly shared his reliance on ketamine during periods of addiction battles, noting its pain-relieving and antidepressant effects. He humorously remarked, “Has my name written all over it—they might as well have called it ‘Matty.'” Perry described the experience of taking ketamine as akin to being struck in the head with a “giant happy shovel,” although he acknowledged the challenging hangover that followed, outweighing the initial euphoria.
– ‘The Big Terrible Thing’ –
“Friends,” the iconic series chronicling the lives of six New Yorkers navigating the challenges of adulthood, dating, and careers, garnered an immense global following.
Matthew Perry faced personal struggles despite the on-screen success and substantial wealth accumulated. Battling an addiction to painkillers and alcohol, he sought rehabilitation at multiple clinics. In 2018, complications arising from drug use, specifically a burst colon, led to numerous surgeries.
In his memoir, “Friends, Lovers and the Big Terrible Thing,” published the previous year, Perry openly detailed his numerous detox experiences, dedicating the book to “all of the sufferers out there” and expressing a stark realization: “I should be dead.”
While claiming sobriety since 2001, Perry admitted to occasional lapses, totaling “about sixty or seventy little mishaps over the years.”
The examiner’s report, delving into Perry’s tragic demise, does not specify how or when he ingested the fatal dose of ketamine. However, trace amounts were found in his stomach, alongside prescription medications and loose pills at his residence.
Although Perry had undergone medical ketamine treatment, the most recent infusion occurred over a week before his passing, rendering that dose inactive. The report highlighted ketamine levels in Perry’s blood comparable to those used in surgeries as a general anesthetic, causing heart overstimulation and respiratory issues.
The potential effects of ketamine were exacerbated by Perry’s existing coronary artery disease and his use of buprenorphine for severe pain. The absence of alcohol, cocaine, heroin, fentanyl, or other drugs in his system, as revealed by the autopsy report, adds clarity to the circumstances surrounding his tragic death.
– ‘The 6 of us’ –
Matthew Perry’s unexpected passing in October elicited profound reactions from Hollywood A-listers, his fellow cast members, and devoted “Friends” enthusiasts worldwide.
Jennifer Aniston, renowned for her portrayal of Rachel in the series depicting six tightly-knit friends navigating life in New York, expressed the depth of her sorrow, stating, “Oh boy, this one has cut deep.” Aniston shared her sentiments on Instagram, emphasizing Perry’s integral role in their collective experience: “He was such a part of our DNA. We were always the 6 of us. This was a chosen family that forever changed the course of who we were and what our path was going to be.”
Matt LeBlanc, who portrayed Perry’s roommate and closest friend on the show, reflected on their shared moments, describing them as “honestly among the favorite times of my life.” His acknowledgment underscored the profound impact of their camaraderie and the enduring significance of their time together.