June 19, 2024

“Friends” Star Matthew Perry’s Tragic Battle With Addiction Ends His Life at 53

Written by AiBot

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Dec 17, 2023

The beloved actor from the hit TV series “Friends” died from effects of the anesthetic ketamine, used illegally, according to an autopsy report released Friday. His long public struggle with drug and alcohol addiction had inspired many, but ultimately led to his demise.

Matthew Perry, who famously played the sarcastic and lovable Chandler Bing on “Friends” for 10 seasons, died on October 28th at age 53. The Los Angeles County Medical Examiner-Coroner finally released Perry’s full autopsy and toxicology reports on Friday, providing answers for grieving fans around the globe.

Autopsy Confirms Ketamine Triggers Cardiac Arrest

The reports confirm Perry’s cause of death as “acute ketamine intoxication” through intravenous injection, which triggered “adverse effects of ketamine use; aspiration pneumonia, hypoxic/ischemic encephalopathy.” In other words, the misuse of ketamine caused Perry to stop breathing, inhale vomit, and cut off oxygen to his brain – ultimately inducing fatal cardiac arrest.

Toxicology screening found multiple substances in Perry’s system when he died, including prescription opioids oxycodone and hydrocodone. But the chief medical examiner determined it was “intravenous injections of ketamine” that directly killed the star.

Ketamine is a dissociative anesthetic drug used legitimately for surgical anesthesia, sedation, and chronic pain management. In the context of mental health, ketamine is also being studied as an antidepressant and anti-anxiety treatment administered in highly-controlled medical environments.

However, the drug is commonly abused recreationally for its hallucinogenic, euphoric high effects. Dissociative and distorted from reality, illegal ketamine users can accidentally inhale vomit during an intense psychedelic trip – as the reports indicate happened to Perry.

A Decades-Long Battle With Addiction

The autopsy results close a grim chapter for Matthew Perry, though provide little surprise. In his 2022 memoir “Friends, Lovers and the Big Terrible Thing,” the actor openly shared his life-long struggle with alcohol and opioid addiction spanning decades.

Perry first began drinking alcohol at age 14, quickly progressing to harder drugs through his early fame on “Friends” in the 1990’s. Despite multiple stints in rehab over the years, his substance abuse only escalated.

At the height of his addiction in 2018, Perry says he came close to death after his colon burst from opioid overuse. He spent weeks in a coma and five months hospitalized, enduring 14 stomach surgeries and needing to use a colostomy bag for nine months. Miraculously, this rock bottom moment inspired Perry to get sober again.

Table: Timeline of Perry’s Addiction and Recovery Journey

Year Event
1979 (age 15) First drinks alcohol
1997 (age 27) First enters rehab for Vicodin addiction
1997-2001 Alternates between sobriety and relapse episodes
2000 (age 30) Enters rehab for 2nd time
2001 (age 31) Enters rehab 3rd time
2011 (age 41) Enters rehab for 4th time
2013 (age 43) Enters rehab for 5th time
2015 (age 45) Enters rehab for 6th time
2018 (age 48) Nearly dies; 9 month hospitalization inspires sobriety
2018-2022 Sober and working on recovery memoir
2022 Releases memoir, does reunion interview announcing sobriety
October 2022 Last seen alive entering ketamine treatment center
Oct. 28, 2022 Dies at age 53 from ketamine use

Through 2021, Perry remained active in recovery programs, determinedly sharing his journey to inspire others battling similar demons. But in hindsight, his sobriety was clearly precarious even a year ago.

How A Dangerous Treatment Triggered Relapse

In another tragic irony, Perry’s death ultimately came while seeking treatment for his mental health and addictions. Earlier this year, he started receiving regular intravenous ketamine injections at a Los Angeles clinic.

These sessions were likely meant to treat Perry’s lingering depression and pain disorders through the novel psychiatric applications of ketamine. However, the controlled treatments clearly set off a relapse ending with Perry self-administering the dangerous anesthetic without medical supervision.

Perry’s long-time representative shared with media that the actor had been safely at the ketamine clinic just one day before his death. But later at home, he apparently lost control with the illicit ketamine use revealed by his autopsy report. Even after decades battling addiction, a momentary setback proved lethal.

This outcome highlights the extremely high risk of relapse associated with ketamine therapy for people in recovery from substance abuse disorders. The psychedelic effects create an environment ripe for abusing injected ketamine illegally outside medical settings. Tragically, Matthew Perry joins other celebrities like Comedian Fuquan Johnson also dying in incidents of fatal ketamine abuse.

Remembrances Pour In From Devastated Friends and Co-Stars

Matthew Perry’s unexpected death left friends, family, and fans grief-stricken, amplified by revelations of his relapse. The sitcom icon had been active in Hollywood through 2022, leaving behind a legacy of laughter alongside unforgettable lessons about the grim realities of addiction.

Co-stars like Jennifer Aniston and Matt LeBlanc posted emotional tributes on social media when Perry first died in October. Following the autopsy release, former “Friends” cast mates shared words of condolence for their departed friend once more.

Lisa Kudrow simply said “I love you, MP. I will miss you every day.” David Schwimmer noted “Addiction is incredibly devastating. My heart breaks for Matt and anyone struggling with it.”

Even actress Valerie Bertinelli, Perry’s former love interest on his sitcom “Sidney,” posted “I’m deeply saddened at the news of Matt’s passing. He brought so much joy to so many, I loved acting with him.” She referenced his addiction battles, writing “I wish there was less stigma around addiction in this country.”

Fans globally also grieved online, reminiscing about Perry’s most hilarious on-screen moments as Chandler. But his tragic death at just 53 years old also highlighted the sobering epidemic of addiction and substance abuse affecting all levels of society today.

The Bittersweet Impact of Matthew Perry’s Legacy

In death even more than life, Matthew Perry’s story stands as a parable of the hope within recovery and the power of community in fighting addiction. Tragically, his decades-long battle also shows how relentless the demons can be.

By publicly sharing his struggles, Perry no doubt motivated many fellow addicts towards treatment and recovery during recent years. Yet his own journey ended too soon, showing the risk of complacency about chronic addiction.

Perry clearly hoped to inspire others by revealing his rock bottom moments in raw detail within 2022 interviews and his memoir released months before death. Now those anecdotes seem bittersweet, making his advocacy all the more poignant and precious.

The contributions Matthew Perry made through Chandler Bing’s humor on “Friends” will live forever in syndication. Perry’s impact fighting stigma by disclosing his addiction demons also persists after his passing. But the latest news of his death starts vital conversations again about the challenges of relapse, dangers of experimental addiction treatments, and misunderstood risks of ketamine use.

Hopefully the tragic loss of Matthew Perry so late in a difficult recovery journey saves others from similar fates. By keeping his memory and transparency alive, those carrying on Perry’s advocacy can transform grief into redemption.




AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

To err is human, but AI does it too. Whilst factual data is used in the production of these articles, the content is written entirely by AI. Double check any facts you intend to rely on with another source.

By AiBot

AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

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