Courteney Cox, who played Perry’s on-screen wife Monica, as well as Jennifer Aniston, David Schwimmer, Lisa Kudrow and Matt LeBlanc, joined forces to share a statement after the actor was found unresponsive having reportedly drowned in his hot tub at his LA home.
In a statement to People on Monday (30 October), the stars wrote: “We are all so utterly devastated by the loss of Matthew. We were more than just cast mates. We are a family. There is so much to say, but right now we’re going to take a moment to grieve and process this unfathomable loss.”
“In time we will say more, as and when we are able. For now, our thoughts and our love are with Matty’s family, his friends, and everyone who loved him around the world.”
Having achieved stardom as the sardonic but loveable Chandler in the hugely popular sitcom, which launched in 1994 and ran for 10 seasons, Perry’s struggles with drugs and alcohol were well documented.
The co-stars remained close long after the show ended and, in 2021, they all participated in a high-profile televised reunion.
Speaking on Good Morning America about filming the special, Perry said: “I knew it was going to be a really seriously emotional experience, and it has been.”
Friends co-creators Marta Kauffman and David Crane shared their own statement, alongside the sitcom’s director Kevin Bright, about Perry’s death. They said he was “always the funniest person in the room”.
In a statement given to Deadline, they said: “We are shocked and deeply, deeply saddened by our beloved friend Matthew’s passing, It still seems impossible. All we can say is that we feel blessed to have had him as part of our lives.”
Throughout his life, Perry opened up about his struggles with addiction, chronicling his journey in a 2022 memoir titled Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing.
In the book, he wrote: “I loved my co-actors. I loved the scripts. I loved everything about the show but I was struggling with my addictions which only added to my sense of shame.
“I felt like I was gonna die if the live audience didn’t laugh, and that’s not healthy for sure. But I could sometimes say a line and the audience wouldn’t laugh and I would sweat and sometimes go into convulsions.
He also recalled the time when Aniston, who played Rachel, once confronted him on set.
“I know you’re drinking – we can smell it,” he said she told him, admitting that the plural “we” hit him “like a sledgehammer”.
Perry’s family released a statement to People, saying: “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.”
If you or someone you know is suffering from drug addiction, you can seek confidential help and support 24-7 from Frank, by calling 0300 123 6600, texting 82111, sending an email or visiting their website here.
In the US, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration can be reached at 1-800-662-HELP.