Everything We Know About Matthew Perry's Tragic Death

This article includes mentions of substance abuse and addiction.

Blending wit and vulnerability, Matthew Perry firmly etched himself into the '90s zeitgeist with his portrayal of the sarcastic yet endearing Chandler Bing on "Friends." Tragically, the Emmy-nominated actor's life was cut short as he was discovered lifeless at his Los Angeles home on October 28, 2023. TMZ broke the news, which prompted an immediate reaction from fans around the world. Although "Friends" concluded its immensely popular 10-season run nearly two decades ago, the show has effortlessly resonated with a fresh wave of young adults. According to Vulture, the show still draws a weekly audience of 16 million Americans through its various syndicated airings. To put that into perspective, Forbes noted that 19 million people tuned in for the series finale of "The Big Bang Theory" in 2019 — which was, at the time, one of the biggest sitcoms on network television.

While Perry's final Instagram post featured the kind of foreshadowing usually reserved for Hollywood films, the tragic details surrounding his death are decidedly more human. As TMZ reported, the actor returned home after a few rounds of pickleball — a sport he frequently raved about — and sent his assistant out to take care of a few errands. When they returned, the beloved actor was found unresponsive. Here's everything we know about Perry's shocking death and the circumstances that led to it. 

Matther Perry was found unresponsive in his jacuzzi

Upon returning to Matthew Perry's residence in Pacific Palisades, his assistant found him unresponsive in his jacuzzi and immediately alerted the police. TMZ noted that the star of "Analyze This" appears to have drowned, although law enforcement sources told the outlet that first responders were responding to a call for cardiac arrest. 

It's worth noting that NBC News reported that the call was made just after 4 p.m. for a male in his 50s and was treated as an unknown "water emergency." Upon arrival, first responders were unable to revive the actor, and he was declared dead at the scene. Brian Humphrey, a spokesperson for the Los Angeles Fire Department, told the publications that there wasn't anybody present at the property who was taken to the hospital, indicating that he died at his home.

Photos published by the Daily Mail seemingly show the actor's family arriving at his residence hours after news of his death broke. In one image, the actor's father, John Bennett Perry, looks visibly distraught while maneuvering through the throng of media gathered outside of "The Whole Ten Yards" actor's home in the aftermath of his death. He was later joined by the actor's mother and step-father, Suzanne and Keith Morrison, who looked equally grief-stricken.

Drugs and alcohol are not believed to have played a role in Matthew Perry's death

Matthew Perry has spoken extensively about his addiction to drugs and alcohol and wrote in his tell-all memoir, "Friends, Lovers, And The Big Terrible Thing," that he believed it was going to kill him. Although the actor had spoken candidly regarding his substance use in the past, TMZ sources have indicated that no drugs were found at the scene, and there was no indication of foul play.

The actor shared during an interview with Tom Power that while filming "Friends," his issues with substance abuse intensified to the point where he later refused to watch the long-running show. "I was taking 55 Vicodin in a day. I weighed 128 pounds. I was on 'Friends' getting watched by 30 million people — that's why I can't watch the show because I was, like, brutally thin," he explained. The actor also sat down with The New York Times for a wide-ranging interview in October 2022, revealing he "probably spent $9 million or something trying to get sober." According to the outlet, the "The Whole Nine Yards" actor had 18 months of sobriety under his belt at the time of their chat.

The actor has said he wants to be remembered for helping others overcome addiction — not his acting. "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. ... 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." As of writing, his untimely death is being treated as a suspected drowning, although the exact cause is still under investigation and will be determined by the Los Angeles County Medical Examiner after they conduct an autopsy.  

If you or anyone you know needs help with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).