Athletes Pay Special Tribute To Matthew Perry After His Death

Matthew Perry — best known for his beloved role as Chandler Bing from "Friends" — died on October 28, 2023. As of this writing, officials are currently citing his death as a drowning, according to TMZ. Although law enforcement officials are still piecing together what happened, the current theory is that Perry possibly went into cardiac arrest while spending time in his jacuzzi. Unfortunately, it will probably be several months before Perry's fans, family, and friends know exactly what happened.

Since news of Perry's tragic passing spread online, Perry's fans and peers have started memorializing his life and career across the internet. Although Perry has received an outpouring of love from celebs across the entire industry — from Adele to Maggie Wheeler (Janice from "Friends") to Yvette Nicole Brown — the "Friends" star has received special love from the sports community, too. After all, before Perry was a world-famous actor, he was a teen tennis star, with hopes of becoming a professional one day.

In an interview with Men's Health, Perry detailed why he didn't pursue the sport into adulthood. "Giving up tennis wasn't really a decision I had to make," explained Perry. "I was a very good tennis player in Ottawa, Canada — nationally ranked when I was, like, 13. Then I moved to Los Angeles when I was 15, and everyone in L.A. just killed me .... I realized I wouldn't be playing tennis for a living, so I went for acting." However, he never lost his passion for tennis, transforming that lifelong love into one for pickleball. And now, athletes have taken to social media to honor the actor who idolized them in life.

Athletes loved Matthew Perry

Since Matthew Perry's unexpected death, an array of athletes have taken to social media to share their love and grief for the beloved "Friends" actor. 

Former tennis star Martina Navratilova shared a post by Morgan Fairchild, who portrayed Perry's mother on "Friends." "So sad ... RIP," she wrote. Meanwhile, wrestler Mick Foley revealed how deeply he admired Perry. "I am really so sorry to hear of the death of actor Matthew Perry," tweeted Foley. "I am such a big fan of #Friends (I've been wearing a Friends shirt the past two days ), and Perry's Chandler Bing character was the one I identified with most. My heart goes out to his family, friends, and his many fans." Dinesh Kartith, a pro cricket player, tweeted. "Today, the same person who brought joy and laughter to our lives has left us all with heavy hearts. Rest in peace, #MatthewPerry."

However, one of the longer and more gut-wrenching tributes came from former NFL star Robert Griffin III, who celebrated Perry's talent and importance on "Friends." "Matthew Perry was more than Chandler Bing. He was what made Friends go. Sad to hear of his passing, but thankful for the memories he gave us. Rest in Peace," tweeted Griffin on top of a compilation of Perry's funniest "Friends" scenes. Griffin followed up with a longer tribute to Perry on TikTok, with the caption: "Rest in Peace Matthew Perry, we know Chandler Bing is showing off his dance moves in Heaven."

Sports reporters and professionals paid tribute Matthew Perry

Athletes aren't the only people in sports who've paid tribute to Matthew Perry. He's also received condolences from people within sports media. For example, sports journalist Heidi Watney took to X, formerly known as Twitter, to post a sweet photo of her and Perry. "What sad news today of Matthew Perry's passing," tweeted Watney. "Such a bright, funny man gone too early. He was an avid sports fan and I enjoyed talking baseball with him." NFL Draft analyst Colton Edwards reacted to the news by tweeting a GIF of Perry looking shocked. "MATTHEW PERRY... NOOOO Rest in Peace my friend," he captioned the tweet.

According to Barstool Sports, the Nashville Predators played the "Friends" theme during Saturday's game and the Ottawa Senators posted a sweet video of Perry at one of their games. "Saddened to learn about the passing of Matthew Perry, one of Ottawa's proudest sons and the biggest hockey fan," tweeted the organization. Meanwhile, The Tennis Channel also honored Perry on X, formerly known as Twitter. "RIP 'Friends' star and big tennis fan Matthew Perry," tweeted the account, alongside three photos of Perry and various tennis professionals over the years. Last but not least, John R. Kennedy, one of Perry's former friends, shared a sweet memory. "When we were kids, Matthew Perry & I played tennis at a sports camp in Ottawa," he tweeted. "I reminded him of this when I ran into him in Toronto in 2016 & he couldn't have been nicer."