Matthew Perry Dies at 54 After Apparently Drowning

Regrettably, Matthew Perry has passed away at the age of 54.

The distinguished actor, famed for his portrayal of Chandler Bing in Friends, was discovered deceased at a residence in the Los Angeles area on Saturday.

According to TMZ, Perry was found in a jacuzzi at the location, and no substances were discovered at the scene.

Warner Bros. released a statement regarding the beloved actor: “We are devastated by the passing of our dear friend Matthew Perry. Matthew was an incredibly gifted actor and an indelible part of the Warner Bros. Television Group family. The impact of his comedic genius was felt around the world, and his legacy will live on in the hearts of so many. This is a heartbreaking day, and we send our love to his family, his loved ones, and all of his devoted fans.”

A representative from the Los Angeles Police Department informed PEOPLE that officers had responded to a call at Perry’s residence regarding the passing of a male in his 50s, though the identity of the deceased was not confirmed.

TMZ also reported that there was no foul play involved, and sources indicated that first responders were summoned to the residence for cardiac arrest.

Representatives for Perry did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.

Born in Williamstown, Massachusetts, on Aug. 19, 1969, Perry was raised in Ottawa, Canada, where he attended elementary school with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

His mother, Suzanne Morrison, was a journalist and press secretary to Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, Justin’s father.

Perry’s stepfather is Dateline‘s Keith Morrison. His father, John Bennett Perry, was an actor and model — the younger Perry even guest-starred in an episode of his dad’s cop show 240-Robert in 1979.

Perry moved to Los Angeles during his teenage years. After securing a few TV guest appearances, he had a recurring role as Chazz Russell on Boys Will Be Boys from 1987 to 1988. He then appeared in Growing Pains and Sydney, but his breakthrough arrived in 1994 with NBC’s iconic sitcom Friends.

Perry portrayed the sarcastic commitment-phobe Chandler Bing for 10 seasons, earning an Emmy nomination in 2002. Friends was the most popular show of the ’90s, with Perry and co-stars Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, and David Schwimmer eventually earning a remarkable $1 million per episode.

“I was 24 when I got on the show,” he remarked in the 2004 book Friends … ‘Til the End. “I’ll be 34 when it’s over, and those are really important years in somebody’s life. So to do it all in public … was difficult. At first you have the wave of ‘I’m famous, and this is exactly what I’ve wanted my whole life.’ But then you go through the whole recluse stage where you think, ‘I wish everybody would stop staring at me.’ And then you eventually, hopefully, get through all that. You find things in your life that are grounding, like your family and good friends.”

Despite his professional success, Perry grappled with addiction privately, seeking treatment in 1997 and 2001. In a 2016 interview with Britain’s BBC Radio 2, he confessed to not remembering filming seasons 3 through 6 of Friends.

In a 2013 PEOPLE cover story, Perry admitted to battling alcohol and Vicodin abuse, which stemmed from a prescription after a 1997 Jet Ski accident.

“I had a big problem with alcohol and pills and I couldn’t stop,” he acknowledged. “Eventually things got so bad that I couldn’t hide it, and then everybody knew.”

Then, “something clicked,” and he established Perry House, a men’s sober living facility, in his former Malibu beach home.

“The interesting reason that I can be so helpful to people now is that I screwed up so often,” he stated. “It’s nice for people to see that somebody who once struggled in their life is not struggling any more.

Back in 2015, he was recognized for his advocacy by the treatment center Phoenix House, telling The Hollywood Reporter, “You can’t have a drug problem for 30 years and then expect to have it be solved in 28 days.”

Preceding the release of his memoir Friends, Lovers and the Big Terrible Thing, the actor acknowledged his Friends co-stars for their support during his struggles, expressing, “They were understanding, and they were patient.”

“It’s like penguins. In nature, when one is sick or very injured, the other penguins surround it and prop it up and walk around until that penguin can walk on its own. And that’s kind of what the cast did for me,” he added.

The bonds he formed with the cast have endured over time, evident when they reunited for the 2021 HBO Max reunion show. He noted, “It’s a group that really is close and tight-knit and loves each other.”

After the conclusion of Friends in 2004, Perry faced challenges in finding another television hit: his subsequent main project, Aaron Sorkin’s Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, aired on NBC for only 22 episodes from 2006-07.

He co-created Mr. Sunshine in 2011, but ABC canceled the comedy after nine episodes. His NBC comedy Go On ran for one season in 2013. Later, he starred alongside Thomas Lennon on CBS’s The Odd Couple reboot for three seasons from 2015-17.

Perry also ventured into the theater with The End of Longing in London starting in 2016, in addition to appearing in films such as Fools Rush In, The Whole Nine Yards, Serving Sara, and 17 Again.

In his memoir, Perry recounted his health struggles, including a terrifying incident in which he was hospitalized for five months due to his colon rupturing as a consequence of using OxyContin.

“The doctors told my family that I had a two-percent chance to live. That’s the time I really came close to my life ending,” Perry disclosed to PEOPLE about the harrowing experience.

Following the event, Perry shared that he was in a coma for two weeks, and upon awakening, he had to use a colostomy bag for about a year. This experience led him to one of his most pivotal decisions — to cease taking prescription opioids.

“My therapist said, ‘The next time you think about taking OxyContin, just think about having a colostomy bag for the rest of your life,’ ” he recounted. “And a little window opened, and I crawled through it, and I no longer want OxyContin.”

Regarding gratitude, Perry learned that “everything starts with sobriety. Because if you don’t have sobriety, you’re going to lose everything that you put in front of it, so my sobriety is right up there.”

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