“Behind the Laughter: Matthew Perry’s Tragic Battle with Addiction and the Legacy of Chandler Bing from ‘Friends’

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‘Friends’ star Matthew Perry was discovered dead in a hot tub at his Los Angeles home on Saturday, according to law enforcement officials. His age was fifty-four.

By 4 am, officials started to respond. At his home, he was discovered to be unconscious. The reason of death was not stated by the sources, who spoke under anonymity while the inquiry was still continuing. The Times was informed by one of the sources that although no narcotics were discovered at the incident, toxicology testing was included in the investigation since prescribed medication was located at the property. A request for response from The Times was not immediately answered by a Perry spokeswoman.

“At this point, there is no suspicion of foul play,” stated Los Angeles Police Captain Scott Williams, who oversees the Robbery-Homicide Division and is investigating Perry’s death. “The cause of death may not be known for some time.” The Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office, which on Sunday postponed its autopsy pending additional inquiry, will establish the cause of death.

“We are reeling from the loss of our dear friend Matthew Perry,” the Warner Bros. Television Group, the company that produced “Friends,” wrote in a statement to The Times. “Matthew was a valued member of the Warner Bros. Television family and an extraordinarily gifted performer. His wit and humor were felt all around the world, and many people will always remember him. 

We express our condolences to Matthew Perry’s family, loved ones, and all of his devoted followers on this terrible day.”

The statement sent by NBC to The Times read, “We are profoundly saddened by the untimely passing of Matthew Perry.” NBC ran the series for ten seasons. “His sharp comedic timing and sardonic humor delighted millions of people worldwide. When he was cast in “Friends,” which was first called “Friends Like Us,” an NBC show about six single New Yorkers navigating adulthood, his legacy continued long after his big breakthrough.”

MATTHEW PERRY
FRIENDS — Pictured: (l-r) Lisa Kudrow as Phoebe Buffay, Matthew Perry as Chandler Bing, Jennifer Aniston as Rachel Green, David Schwimmer as Ross Geller, Courteney Cox as Monica Geller, Matt LeBlanc as Joey Tribbiani, (Photo by Jon Ragel/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)

The show took off and rapidly became a huge hit, leading the network’s Thursday night “Must-See TV” program. Perry and his co-stars were practically overnight celebrities. The show drew almost 50 million live viewers at its height (the 1996 Super Bowl episode and the 2004 series finale); by the time it ended, the cast members were taking home more than $1 million per episode.

Perry established himself as a captivating member of the cast as Chandler Bing, first as the smart and attractive roommate of Matt LeBlanc’s Joey Tribbiani and then as the partner of Cox’s tense Monica Geller.

Could he BE any more Chandler? was the flawless catchphrase he created with his stoic delivery, drawing from jokes he told with childhood friends.

He soon shared the screen with top actors such as Bruce Willis in the 2000 comedy “The Whole Nine Yards” and Julia Roberts in the 1997 romantic comedy “Fools Rush In.”

But there was a darker side to the life of one of the most beloved funny men on television. ‘Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing,’ Perry’s 2022 memoir, detailed his lifelong battle with alcohol and opioid addiction. In his essay, he claimed that although he started drinking at the age of 14, he didn’t realize he was an alcoholic until he was 21. 

Matthew perry estimated that since then, he had made multiple attempts at rehabilitation and spent over $7 million on sobriety initiatives. In addition, his substance abuse caused a number of severe health problems, such as a pancreas rupture in 2018 that required five months in the hospital, during which he wrote there was a 2% chance of survival all night.

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