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A friend to billions, Matthew was there for you

We farewell the actor who made us laugh as Chandler Bing

As Chandler on Friends, Matthew Perry was the master of the one-liner. The one who made fans laugh the most. But now the gags and the wisecracks are over.
Hollywood is still reeling from the shock death of the Canadian-born star, 54, who was found unresponsive in the jacuzzi of his Los Angeles home on October 28.
"This truly is The One Where Our Hearts Are Broken," Friends co-creators Marta Kauffman and David Crane shared after the news broke – a reference to the whimsical way in which each episode of the hugely successful sitcom was named.
Despite his well-documented battle with alcohol and drug addiction, no one expected this year to be the one in which the beloved comic actor's life abruptly ended. Friends stars Jennifer Aniston, 54, Courteney Cox, 59, Lisa Kudrow, 60, Matt LeBlanc, 56, and David Schwimmer, 56, released a joint statement saying they were "utterly devastated". Adding, "We were more than castmates – we are a family. There's so much to say, but right now we're going to take a moment to grieve and process this unfathomable loss."
Stars including Gwyneth Paltrow, Kate Hudson, Mira Sorvino, Selma Blair and Kathleen Turner paid tribute to their friend, and Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau said, "I'll never forget the schoolyard games we used to play."
And now there are five... With Friends co-stars (from left) Matt, Jennifer, Lisa, David and Courteney (front).
Those close to Matthew say in the past year – since the release of his startlingly honest memoir Friends, Lovers and the Big Terrible Thing – he had begun to feel more optimistic about life.
A friend who met the star during one of his 15 stints in rehab, said, "The last time I spoke to him, which was within the last few weeks, he seemed to be in a good place. He was upbeat, and sounded sober and positive… Matt was a genuinely lovely guy."
Fame was a double-edged sword for Matthew, who grew up in Canada with his mum Suzanne and stepfather Keith Morrison. At the age of 15, he moved to LA to spend time with his dad, actor John Perry, and he was hungry for a career on screen.
"I wanted to be famous so badly," he said. "You want the attention, you want the bucks and you want the best seat in the restaurant. I didn't think what the repercussions would be."
After landing roles in shows like Charles in Charge and Growing Pains, he hit the big time in 1994 when he was cast as jokester Chandler Bing in what would become the biggest sitcom of the '90s. He was 24.
Matthew with dad John, who passed on the acting bug.
The actor already had a taste for alcohol, but things went downhill in 1997 when, after a jet-skiing accident, he was prescribed the painkiller Vicodin. Soon, he was swallowing as many as 55 a day. He also upped his drinking, sometimes downing 14 triple shots of vodka in one session.
He confessed in his autobiography he had no recollection of filming three of the 10 seasons of Friends and the moment the climactic episode of his wedding with Monica (Courteney Cox) wrapped, he was rushed to a treatment centre.
"At the height of my highest point in Friends, the highest point in my career, the iconic moment on the iconic show, I was in a pickup truck helmed by a sober technician," he later recounted.
After Friends, Matthew starred in a number of acclaimed movies and TV shows, including The Whole Nine Yards, but his addictions remained and in 2018, aged 49, he ended up on life support with just a "two percent chance" of surviving. His colon had burst. He spent five months in hospital and for nine months he needed a colostomy bag.
In his memoir, he recalled the day he bit into a slice of toast and his top teeth fell out. He took them to the dentist in his pocket.
Following his near-death experience, he focused on helping others in the same boat, at one stage setting up a sober facility in his home.
Although he'd never married, he'd had relationships with A-listers Julia Roberts and Neve Campbell, and in 2020 was briefly engaged to literary agent Molly Hurwitz.
One of his greatest regrets was that he never got to be a father.
"Had I done so, I would not now be sitting in a huge house overlooking the ocean, with no one to share it with save a nurse, a sober companion and a gardener twice a week," he wrote in his memoir.
Prescription anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medications were found in his house, in addition to a medication used to treat bronchitis and emphysema. No illegal drugs were detected.
"They are thinking he must have taken something that did not mix with the warm water," says a source.
"It does not seem real to the gang. Matthew was finally at peace with himself. He was enjoying life."
Alcohol Drug Helpline 0800 787 797
Depression Helpline 0800 111 757
Healthline 0800 611 116

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