Matthew Perry's Pickleball Coach Speaks On How The Actor Seemed Before His Tragic Death

As fans and loved ones continue to mourn Matthew Perry, his pickleball coach is sharing new insights into the actor's final months. On October 28, the actor, best known for his role as Chandler Bing on the hit NBC sitcom "Friends" was reported dead after being found unresponsive in a hot tub. "We are heartbroken by the tragic loss of our beloved son and brother," Perry's family said in a statement to People. "Matthew brought so much joy to the world, both as an actor and a friend. You all meant so much to him and we appreciate the tremendous outpouring of love."

In the wake of his tragic death, several Hollywood stars shared their condolences, while recounting some of their favorite memories with the late star. In a heartwarming tribute, Gwyneth Paltrow revealed she met Perry while attending the Williamstown Theater Festival in Massachusetts in the summer of 1993. "He was so funny and so sweet and so much fun to be with. We drove out to swim in creeks, had beers in the local college bar, kissed in a field of long grass. It was a magical summer," she wrote on Instagram. 

But when he wasn't acting up a storm, making audiences laugh, or kissing some of Hollywood's biggest stars, Perry was out exploring his hobbies including pickleball, which he enjoyed in his final years. And as we all continue to remember his legacy, Perry's pickleball coach, Matt Manasse, is looking back on the actor's final day on the court.

Matthew Perry played pickleball shortly before his death

Speaking to People, professional pickleball coach Matt Manasse opened up about Matthew Perry's last time playing pickleball, and how he was doing before his tragic death. As previously reported by TMZ, Perry had been out playing pickleball on October 28 before returning home to his Los Angeles home where he was later found unresponsive. Though Perry reportedly started out playing with Manasse alone, the "Friends" star soon picked up an interest in another coach at the Riviera Country Club whom he played with just hours before his death. "She said, 'Yeah, he'd come out.' She didn't say how long but said he'd been doing really well on court, which wasn't a surprise," Manasse recounted. 

In a separate interview with NBC News, Manasse confirmed that he had worked with the actor for a couple of years, during which they built a friendship that included occasional check-ins. "He was doing great, from what I heard and what I knew. That's the worst part about this. When I spoke to him he was chipper and upbeat — he was who he is, pumped about life," the professional coach explained. 

But while Perry might have been doing great in the months before his tragic death, his final days were reportedly characterized by fatigue. Following the actor's death, media personality Billy Bush took to social media to offer a glimpse into the actor's final pickleball game. "I spoke to the woman he played with this morning and every morning. She is in shock, adored Matt...she said he had been fatigued today and over the past week. A little more than usual. He played for one hour then went home," Bush captioned a collage of photos featuring Perry. 

Pickeball helped Matthew Perry on his sobriety journey

For Matthew Perry, pickleball was more than a hobby; it also doubled as one of his sobriety companions, as confirmed by Matt Manasse. "He thought it was something that could help with his recovery and he was doing an awesome job. He loved it. He came out five times a week, would always talk about it. [He] got so much better, always made everyone laugh. He was competitive, just a genuine, good guy — caring for everybody," the professional pickleball coach told People. Beyond himself, Perry, who spent the latter part of his life providing support for people facing addiction, also used the sport to help others on their sobriety journey. "He would bring them to teach them pickleball. He was just always trying to help people," Manasse added. 

However, not only was Perry using pickleball as an outlet, but he was also apparently very good at it. Speaking to InPickleball in 2022, Manasse spotlighted the actor's "badass serve," as well as his impeccable forehand drive. But most importantly, Manasse is remembering the actor for who he was off the court. "He cared about everyone — your day was better when you saw him or when he called. He never missed an opportunity for a funny joke to make you laugh," he told People. "Just a genuinely amazing person. Everyone should know he had a heart of gold."