Matthew Perry's Cause of Death Confirmed as 'Acute Effects of Ketamine'

matthew perry
Fans Mourn Death of 'Friends' Star Matthew PerryRandy Holmes - Getty Images

Update: 18/12/2023

The coroner's report has determined Perry's cause of death as the ‘acute effects of ketamine,’ while the autopsy also highlighted other contributory factors including ‘drowning, coronary artery disease and the effects of buprenorphine,’ the latter of which is used to treat opioid addiction.

‘At the high levels of ketamine found in his post-mortem blood specimens, the main lethal effects would be from both cardiovascular overstimulation and respiratory depression,’ stated senior deputy medical examiner Raffi Djabourian. ‘Drowning contributes due to the likelihood of submersion into the pool as he lapsed into unconsciousness; coronary artery disease contributes due to exacerbation of ketamine induced myocardial effects on the heart.’

Perry had previously written in his memoir about his experiences of ketamine infusion therapy as part of his addiction treatment, a process which had been ongoing. However, the postmortem examination found that the ketamine in the actor's system at his time of death was unrelated to his last known infusion over a week prior.

The manner of death has been ruled as accidental.

Original story: 30/10/2023

Matthew Perry, the comedic actor and Nineties icon best known for his role in the long-running sitcom Friends, has died at the age of 54. He was found dead in his home in Los Angeles after an apparent drowning.

Perry played the sarcastic and neurotic Chandler Bing for 10 seasons on Friends, and his unique delivery of lines led to many of the show's most quotable moments which still live on in pop culture today. In real life, however, his successful acting career was shadowed by a years-long opioid addiction which developed after he was prescribed painkillers following a skiing accident in 1997.

‘We are devastated by the passing of our dear friend Matthew Perry,’ wrote Friends production studio Warner Bros. in a statement. ‘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.’

Several people who worked with Perry on the show have expressed their shock and sadness at his sudden death.

‘What a loss,’ wrote Maggie Wheeler, who played his on-again-off-again girlfriend Janice in the early seasons. ‘The world will miss you Mathew Perry . The joy you brought to so many in your too short lifetime will live on. I feel so very blessed by every creative moment we shared.’

Paget Brewster, who played his love interest Kathy, wrote that Perry was ‘lovely’ to her during her time on the show, ‘and every time I saw him in the decades after.’ She urged fans to read Perry's memoir, which came out last year and candidly documents his struggles with addiction. ‘It was his legacy to help,’ she wrote. ‘He won’t rest in peace though.. He’s already too busy making everyone laugh up there.’

In addition to Friends, Perry starred in a revival of The Odd Couple from 2015 to 2017. Outside of his sitcom work, he also appeared in several hit movies, including 17 Again, The Whole Nine Yards, Three to Tango and Fools Rush In.

Over on Twitter, fans are sharing some of the funniest and most moving moments from Perry's career.

friends season 1
NBC - Getty Images

Selma Blair, who appeared in the ninth season of Friends, called Perry her ‘oldest boy friend,’ saying: ‘All of us loved Matthew Perry, and I did especially. Every day. I loved him unconditionally. And he me. And I’m broken. Broken hearted. Sweet dreams Matty. Sweet dreams.’

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