An initial toxicology report has ruled out some potential causes for the recent, untimely death of “Friends” star Matthew Perry. According to a recent report by TMZ, an initial test revealed that the late actor did not have meth or fentanyl in his system at the time of his passing. Perry was found dead in his hot tub at his home in Los Angeles over the weekend. He was just 54 years old.
The outlet cautions that “more in-depth tests are still being conducted” to see if any other illegal drugs were present in his blood at the time of his passing, and “if the levels of any prescription meds were at harmful doses.” Those more in-depth toxicology results could take months to be revealed.
Perry has been very open about his struggles with alcohol and opioid addiction over the years. The actor, who is best known for playing Chandler Bing on “Friends,” recently opened up about his journey to sobriety in his memoir “Friends, Lovers and the Big Terrible Thing.” The manner of death has still not been confirmed by officials, even though initial reports indicated that Perry had drowned.
Matthew Perry’s legacy
In the wake of Perry’s passing there has been an outpouring of support from fans of his work and those who worked with him over the years. His co-stars from “Friends” recently released a joint statement mourning the loss of their real-life friend. “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.” the statement read.
While Perry was best known for his role as Chandler, the actor had a very successful career beyond the wildly popular sitcom he helped anchor. Some of the actor’s other roles included movies such as “The Whole Nine Yards” and “17 Again,” as well as guest appearances on hit shows like “Scrubs” and “The Simpsons.”
Remembering a gifted actor
Perry’s powerful legacy extends beyond just the beloved characters he portrayed on screen. The actor was open about his struggles with addiction for years. In an entertainment culture rife with powerful depictions of the intimate struggles we all face, from substance abuse to mental illness, it’s still somewhat taboo for actors to be open about their own struggles. Perry broke the mold.
As early as 2002, at the height of his “Friends” fame, Perry was candid about his fight against alcohol and drug abuse. In a People Magazine cover story from September that year, Perry shared that he’d been to rehab in 1997 and 2001. If opening up about addiction is hard now, it was even harder 20 years ago, especially when Perry wasn’t viewed so much as a flawed, sympathetic human being, but as the strong, goofy, lovable character he played on “Friends.” To admit to dark, private struggles such as these might have risked alienating his fans. Instead, it made him an inspiration and role model to people everywhere enduring the same hardships.
In a 2015 profile in The Hollywood Reporter, Perry shed light on his efforts to fight addiction beyond his own personal struggles. Perry had helped an addiction treatment center, The Phoenix House, broaden its profile and take in more patients. He also had established his own sober living facility called Perry House. For his advocacy, the Office of National Drug Control Policy gave him the Champion of Recovery award in 2013, recognizing him as a fierce ally to those battling substance abuse and addiction. His candidness and advocacy continue to inspire others to pursue sobriety. He will be sorely missed.