I am truly sad to have to report that on Saturday, “Friends” star Matthew Perry was found dead at his home in Los Angeles at 54. Police said there were no illegal drugs on the scene (although there are reports that he had prescription medications), and foul play is not suspected. It was initially reported that he had drowned in his hot tub; but it was later learned that he had earlier played pickleball for two hours, and many commenters mentioned that for someone with his serious health issues, strenuous exercise followed by the high heat of a hot tub can lead to heart failure. FYI, here’s more information on that:
The coroner deferred releasing a cause of death pending further tests, but said Perry’s body was “ready for release,” with “other significant conditions” contributing to his death. In short, he had been lucky to still be alive, which he was well aware of.
Perry recently opened up in a best-selling memoir about his years of substance abuse and the toll it took on his body, with doctors at one point giving him only a 2% chance of survival. It started with alcohol, then a skiing accident led to a painkiller addiction. He was also a heavy smoker. You can see the effects on reruns of “Friends,” where at one point, he was taking 55 Vicodin a day and weighed only 128 pounds at six feet tall.
Having finally conquered his addictions and miraculously survived, Perry said, "The best thing about me, bar none, is if somebody comes up to me and says, 'I can't stop drinking. Can you help me?' I can say yes and follow up and do it. And I've said this for a long time: when I die, I don't want ‘Friends’ to be the first thing that's mentioned — I want that to be the first thing that's mentioned. And I'm going to live the rest of my life proving that." Perry then stressed that he hopes what people say about him after his death is that “his paramount thing is that he wants to help people. That's what I want."
At this writing, Perry’s closest castmates on “Friends” were reportedly in “total shock” and had yet to say anything. But there’s an outpouring of grief from countless celebrities who worked with Perry and who all describe him as incredibly sweet, kind and funny, despite the terrible addictions he fought for so many years. RIP, Matt.