Matthew Perry, known for his iconic role as Chandler Bing on the top-rated 1990s U.S. television sitcom “Friends,” tragically passed away on a Saturday.
He was 54 years old. Perry’s death was reportedly due to drowning in a hot tub, and while police are investigating the incident, they do not suspect foul play.
The news of Matthew Perry’s passing was met with an outpouring of grief from fans, fellow celebrities, and high-profile personalities worldwide. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, a former schoolmate of Perry’s in Ottawa, shared his sorrow over the loss. “I’ll never forget the schoolyard games we used to play, and I know people around the world are never going to forget the joy he brought them,” Trudeau said. “Thanks for all the laughs, Matthew. You were loved, and you will be missed.”
Matthew Perry’s passing is shocking and saddening. I’ll never forget the schoolyard games we used to play, and I know people around the world are never going to forget the joy he brought them. Thanks for all the laughs, Matthew. You were loved – and you will be missed.
— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) October 29, 2023
Matthew Perry, along with his co-stars Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, David Schwimmer, Matt LeBlanc, and Lisa Kudrow, became permanent celebrities thanks to the internationally successful show “Friends.” The series ran for ten seasons from 1994 to 2004 and revolved around a close-knit group of young adults who spent time at each other’s apartments and at “Central Perk,” a fictional Manhattan cafe.
One of the show’s major storylines involved Chandler’s clandestine romance with Monica Geller, portrayed by Courteney Cox, which unfolded as the four other friends – Rachel, Joey, Phoebe, and Ross – each discovered their relationship. Chandler and Monica eventually tied the knot, adding to the show’s memorable moments and heartwarming narrative.
During its prime, “Friends” was the most-watched U.S. television program in prime time, with each of the six main actors earning a staggering $1 million per episode. The show’s humor, relatable characters, and enduring appeal made it a cultural phenomenon that continues to be beloved by fans around the world.
Despite his on-screen success, Matthew Perry had a tumultuous personal life marked by struggles with addiction to prescription drugs and alcohol. Although these challenges were largely kept hidden from the public during the show’s original run, Perry candidly shared his battles in his memoir, titled “Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing,” which was published last year.
In his book, Perry began by acknowledging the gravity of his struggles: “Hi, my name is Matthew, although you may know me by another name. My friends call me Matty. And I should be dead.” He went on to describe a profound, life-changing spiritual encounter that he considered a form of salvation. Perry wrote that this experience allowed him to remain sober for a significant period afterward.
Describing the transformative moment, Perry wrote, “I started to cry. I mean. I really started to cry – that shoulder-shaking kind of uncontrollable weeping. I wasn’t crying because I was sad. I was crying because for the first time in my life, I felt OK. I felt safe, taken care of, decades of struggling with God, and wrestling with life and sadness – all was being washed away. Like a river of pain, gone into oblivion. I had been in the presence of God. I was certain of it. And this time I had prayed for the right thing – help.”
Perry emphasized that “everything was different” following this experience, and he managed to stay sober for two years based solely on that transformative moment. He saw it as a divine intervention that turned him into a seeker, not only of sobriety and truth but also of a deeper connection with God.
Matthew Perry’s untimely passing has left a void in the hearts of fans, friends, and colleagues. His portrayal of Chandler Bing in “Friends” brought laughter and joy to millions, and his candidness about his personal struggles served as an inspiration to others facing similar challenges. As we remember his life and work, we reflect on the impact he had on the world and the laughter he shared with us all.