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Matthew Perry’s Cause of Death Confirmed by Officials

Matthew Perry’s Cause of Death Confirmed by Officials

Actor Matthew Perry arrives at a benefit screening of "Moonlight Mile" in Beverly Hills, Calif., on Sept. 24, 2002. (Chris Weeks/AP Photo)

Jack Phillips

Jack Phillips

12/15/2023

Updated: 1/5/2024

“Friends” actor Matthew Perry’s cause of death was due to the “acute effects” of the dissociative drug ketamine and other factors, according to an autopsy report released Friday. Mr. Perry died on Oct. 28 at age 54.
The “acute effects of ketamine” were listed alongside drowning, according to the report. Other conditions that contributed include “coronary artery disease” and “buprenorphine effects,” the report listed, making reference to the opioid partial agonist drug.
“Prescription medications and loose pills” were found at Mr. Perry’s residence when he was found, the report said. “The manner of death is accident,” it added.
The report said he was on ketamine infusion therapy, with the most recent therapy occurring about 10 days before his death. It noted that he had significant levels of the drug, a hallucinogenic substance that became widely used as a club drug in the 1990s, in his system.
Officials believe that the most likely went unconscious before going under the water, according to the report. It’s not clear how Mr. Perry, who played Chandler Bing on “Friends,” administered the drug.
The actor was found dead at his home in Pacific Palisades, California, officials said. He was specifically “discovered by a witness unresponsive in his jacuzzi,” said the Los Angeles Police Department.
“The Los Angeles City Fire Department responded to the scene and pronounced Perry deceased,” police said at the time.
Other than starring in “Friends” from 1994 to 2004, Mr. Perry also appeared in several TV series, including “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip.” He also appeared in movies like “17 Again” and “Fools Rush In.”
“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,” his “Friends” cast members Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, and David Schwimmer said in a statement after his death was confirmed weeks ago.
They added that “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.”
Mr. LeBlanc, who played Joey Tribbiani on the show, wrote on Instagram that “the times we had together are honestly among the favorite times of my life.”
He added that “it was an honor to share the stage with you and to call you my friend. I will always smile when I think of you and I’ll never forget you. Never. Spread your wings and fly brother you’re finally free. Much love. And I guess you’re keeping the 20 bucks you owe me.”
Aniston, who played Rachel Green on the show, recalled her last conversation with Mr. Perry.
“He was happy. He was healthy,” she told Variety magazine this week. “He had quit smoking. He was getting in shape. He was happy—that’s all I know. I was literally texting with him that morning, funny Matty. He was not in pain. He wasn’t struggling.”
Over the years, Mr. Perry has spoken about substance abuse issues and made reference to it in his memoir, “Friends, Lovers and the big Terrible Thing,” which was published last year.
“In the spirit of Matthew Perry’s enduring commitment to helping others struggling with ... addiction, we embark on a journey to honor his legacy by establishing the Matthew Perry Foundation, guided by his own words and experiences, and driven by his passion for making a difference in as many lives as possible,” a statement issued by the Matthew Perry Foundation said after his death.

What Is Ketamine?

Ketamine is a dissociative anesthetic that is used to induce anesthesia but has also been used in recent years as a treatment for depression and pain, and has been used in veterinary medicine since the 1960s.
However, the drug is perhaps best known for its hallucinogenic effects and usage at underground rave parties. As a dissociative anesthetic, ketamine is in the same class of often-abused drugs as nitrous oxide, dextromethorphan, and phencyclidine, or PCP.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which currently lists it as Schedule III, issued a warning about “compounded ketamine products” about two weeks before Mr. Perry’s death.
“Ketamine is not FDA approved for the treatment of any psychiatric disorder. FDA is aware that compounded ketamine products have been marketed for a wide variety of psychiatric disorders (e.g., depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and obsessive-compulsive disorder); however, FDA has not determined that ketamine is safe and effective for such uses,” the FDA says.
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Jack Phillips

Jack Phillips

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Jack Phillips is a breaking news reporter with 15 years experience who started as a local New York City reporter. Having joined The Epoch Times' news team in 2009, Jack was born and raised near Modesto in California's Central Valley. Follow him on X: https://twitter.com/jackphillips5

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