Actor was found in a hot tub at his home in Los Angeles
Matthew Perry, one of the stars of the television series Friends, has been found dead at his home aged 54.
Mr Perry, once one of the biggest television stars in the world, was discovered after apparently drowning in a hot tub at his home in the Los Angeles area.
The Los Angeles Times and TMZ.com, citing law enforcement sources, reported that the American-Canadian performer was found dead in a jacuzzi at his Los Angeles home.
A Los Angeles Police Department spokesman told The Telegraph that officers attended Mr Perry’s $6.8m mansion in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles at 4.10pm on Friday afternoon and were conducting an investigation into his death.
TMZ, a celebrity news website, said that although Mr Perry has previously faced a public battle with drug addiction, no narcotics had been found at the scene.
An LAPD spokesman said: “We responded to the 1800 block of Blue Sail Rd for a death investigation of a male in his fifties.”
Mr Perry played Chandler in all 234 episodes of the iconic sitcom Friends, which ran for 10 series from 1994 to 2004.
Warner Bros, which made Friends, paid tribute with a message on X – formerly known as Twitter – which said: “We are devastated to learn of Matthew Perry’s passing. He was a true gift to us all. Our heart goes out to his family, loved ones, and all of his fans.”
Friends transformed his life, catapulting him and his co-stars to fame as it became one of the most successful shows in TV history, paying each of the five stars $1 million (£824,500) per episode by the end of tenth series.
But Mr Perry struggled throughout his time on the programme with drugs and alcohol, and suffered with addiction to pain-killers, according to a memoir released last year.
The American-Canadian actor also starred in the TV series Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip and several films, including Fools Rush In, Almost Heroes and The Whole Nine Yards.
He garnered two more Emmy nominations for his appearances as White House counsel Joe Quincy in The West Wing.
The hashtag #RIPMatthewPerry began trending on Twitter soon after the news of his death broke.
Painkiller addiction led to 15 trips to rehab
Mr Perry’s memoir, Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing, was published last November and gave details about his battle with addiction while working on Friends.
Following a jet ski accident in 1997, three years into his work on Friends, he was prescribed the painkiller Vicodin, which he said made his “blood feel like warm honey” and gave him the impression of “being close to God”.
At 27, he was soon taking 55 Vicodin pills per day, and checked into rehab 15 times.
He also said he attended 6,000 Alcoholics Anonymous meetings and underwent stomach surgery 14 times, which he said made his bowels look like “the topography of China”.
He also revealed he once secretly dated Julia Roberts, a film star, but broke up with her because he was worried she would leave him.
Although Mr Perry had several other high-profile girlfriends, including the actress Lizzie Caplan and model Yasmine Bleeth, he was engaged only once to literary manager Molly Hurwitz in November 2020.
The pair broke off their engagement seven months later, telling People magazine: “Sometimes things just don’t work out and this is one of them. I wish Molly the best.”
Fan concern after reboot appearance
Mr Perry provoked concern when he appeared in a one-episode reboot, Friends: The Reunion in May 2021.
His speech was slurred and his face bloated, leading to concerns he had suffered a relapse of his drug addiction.
He later said his appearance was related to recent dental surgery, after his front teeth fell out while he was eating a slice of toast.
By the time his memoir was published last year, he said he had been sober for 18 months and had quit drinking because 14 triple vodka drinks was no longer enough to get him drunk.
“Not only do I have the disease, but I also have it bad,” he 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 added: “Robert Downey Jr, talking about his own addiction, once said, ‘It’s like I have a gun in my mouth with my finger on the trigger, and I like the taste of the metal.’
“I got it; I understand that. Even on good days, when I’m sober and I’m looking forward, it’s still with me all the time. There’s still a gun.
“Fortunately, I guess, there’s not enough opiates in the world to make me high anymore.”
‘If I die, it won’t surprise anyone’
Mr Perry said he was “grateful to be alive” and had once been given a “2 per cent chance to live” after an especially serious stomach perforation that required major surgery.
In an interview to promote the book, he said of his readers: “I think they’ll be surprised at how bad it got at certain times and how close to dying I came.
“I say in the book that if I did die, it would shock people, but it wouldn’t surprise anybody. And that’s a very scary thing to be living with.
“So my hope is that people will relate to it, and know that this disease attacks everybody. It doesn’t matter if you’re successful or not successful – the disease doesn’t care.”
Mr Perry bought the home where he was found dead, in the Pacific Palisades neighbourhood of western Los Angeles, in August 2020.
The area is known as a popular residence for celebrities, including Matt LeBlanc, Mr Perry’s Friends co-star, who owned a home there from 2006 to 2016.
The neighbourhood has also been home to actors Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, Tom Hanks and Mel Blanc, plus Ronald Reagan, Steven Spielberg and Stevie Nicks.
In a statement, Warner Bros TV said “we are devastated by the passing of our dear friend Matthew Perry”.
“Matthew was an incredibly gifted actor and an indelible part of the Warner Bros Television Group family.”
“The impact of his comedic genius was felt around the world, and his legacy will live on in the hearts of so many. This is a heartbreaking day, and we send our love to his family, his loved ones, and all of his devoted fans.”