US actor Matthew Perry, best known for playing Chandler Bing in the hit ’90s TV sitcom Friends, has died at the age of 54.
The actor was found dead at his home in his Los Angeles, law enforcement sources told US media. The LA Times and TMZ, which first reported that Perry had died, said the actor was found unresponsive in a hot tub at his house.
TMZ reported that Perry was found in a jacuzzi at the home, and no drugs were found at the scene. TMZ was also told that there was no foul play involved, and their sources said first-responders were called to the residence for cardiac arrest.
Perry battled for years with addiction to painkillers and alcohol and attended rehabilitation clinics on multiple occasions. In 2016, he said that he could not remember three years of filming during Friends, because of drink and drugs.
In an interview last year, he spoke about how he did not watch the show.
“I didn’t watch the show, and haven’t watched the show, because I could go, ‘Drinking, opiates, drinking, cocaine,'” he said. “I could tell season by season, by how I looked. That’s why I don’t wanna watch it, because that’s what I see.
“But I think I’m going to start to watch it because it’s been an incredible thing to watch it touch the hearts of different generations.”
Matthew Perry became an international star on Friends
Born in Massachusetts in 1969, Perry was raised in Ottawa, Canada, where he attended elementary school with Justin Trudeau, who later became Canadian prime minister.
Perry moved to Los Angeles as a teenager. He starred as Chazz Russell in Boys Will Be Boys and also had roles in shows including Growing Pains.
But he became an international star on Friends, a show that followed the lives of six New Yorkers navigating dating, careers and friendship.
Perry was cast as the awkward Chandler Bing, famous for his sarcastic one-liners. The role earned him a Primetime Emmy nomination in 2002.
Friends aired on NBC from September 22, 1994, to May 6, 2004. The series finale aired on May 6, 2004, and was watched by around 52.5 million American viewers, making it the fifth-most-watched series finale in television history.
Matthew Perry an “indelible part of the Warner Bros. family”
Warner Bros TV, which produced Friends, said “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 statement read.
“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.”
Maggie Wheeler, who played Janice in Friends, was the first of Perry’s co-stars to publicly pay tribute to the actor.
Wheeler said the joy Perry brought to “so many” in his “too short lifetime will live on”.
“I feel so very blessed by every creative moment we shared,” she wrote on Instagram.