From 1994 to 2004, Matthew Perry starred as Chandler Bing on Friends alongside Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, David Schwimmer and Matt LeBlanc. He remained synonymous with the charming role and touched the hearts of millions of fans in the years before his tragic death in October 2023.

What Happened to Matthew Perry?’

Perry was born on August 19, 1969, in Williamstown, Massachusetts. He earned his first acting credit when he was 10 years old during an episode of 240-Robert. Throughout the ‘80s, he snagged roles in Silver Spoons, Boys Will Be Boys, Highway to Heaven, Growing Pains and more.

Though Friends was his big break in the ‘90s, Perry almost ended up passing on the opportunity entirely.

“This happened to be the year that Friends was shot, but I was off the market because I had taken a job on a pilot called LAX 2194 that was about baggage handlers at L.A. Airport in the year 2194,” he revealed during an appearance on Late Night With Seth Meyers in February 2015.

Once he received the script for Friends, he knew it was his destiny to play Chandler despite already being locked into another project. As fate would have it, TV executives ended up axing LAX 2194, allowing Perry to join the pilot for Friends. His life was forever changed by the hugely successful NBC sitcom, earning an Emmy nomination in 2002 for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series.

What Did Matthew Perry Say About His Struggles With Addiction?

In the years following his Friends fame, the Ally McBeal alum opened up about his struggles with drug and alcohol addiction.

“I didn’t know how to stop,” he said of his addiction in an October 2022 interview with People. “If the police came over to my house and said, ‘If you drink tonight, we’re going to take you to jail,’ I’d start packing. I couldn’t stop because the disease and the addiction is progressive. So it gets worse and worse as you grow older.”

Matthew Perry wears a gray suit with hands in his pockets
Mark Sagliocco/Getty Images

At the time, Perry shared that he had been in and out of rehab 15 times throughout his Hollywood career. In his 2022 memoir, Friends, Lovers and the Big Terrible Thing, he candidly divulged new details about his battle to stay sober.

“Not only do I have the disease, but I also have it bad,” the Mr. Sunshine actor wrote. “I have it as bad as you can have it, in fact. It’s back-to-the-wall time all the time. It’s going to kill me.”

He continued, “Even on good days when I’m sober and I’m looking forward, it’s still with me all the time.”

How Did Matthew Perry Die?

Perry was found dead in the jacuzzi at his California home on October 28, 2023. An autopsy was conducted, and his cause of death was deferred pending toxicology results, per People.

In the final days leading up to his death at age 54, the Go On alum shared a photo on Instagram that was taken as he sat in the hot tub. On October 27, 2023, Perry was photographed while dining out with a woman at Hotel Bel-Air. He also played pickleball several times a week, participating in the sport just hours before his death, per People.

Following the news of his death, Perry’s Friends costars released a joint statement to pay their respects.

“We are all so utterly devastated by the loss of Matthew. We were more than just castmates. We are a family,” the statement obtained by People on October 30, 2023, read. “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,” the statement continued. “For now, our thoughts and our love are with Matty’s family, his friends and everyone who loved him around the world.”