Friends star Matthew Perry died of ketamine overdose, autopsy finds

Los Angeles medical examiner says drowning and heart disease were contributing factors in actor’s accidental death.

Friends actor Matthew Perry, who was found dead in a jacuzzi at his Los Angeles home in October, died from an accidental ketamine overdose, an autopsy has found.

Perry, who played the wise-cracking Chandler Bing in the popular US sitcom, passed away from the “acute effects” of the sedative, with drowning a secondary cause in his October 28 death at age 54, the Los Angeles County Medical Examiner’s Office said on Friday.

Heart disease and “the effects of buprenorphine”, a drug used to treat opioid abuse, were also contributing factors, the autopsy report said.

Perry, who spoke openly about his struggles with alcohol and opiate addiction, had reportedly been undergoing ketamine treatment for anxiety and depression but took his last known infusion more than a week before his death, which would have been long enough for the drug to have left his system.

“The exact method of intake in Mr Perry’s case is unknown,” the report said.

The autopsy did not detect alcohol or other drugs such as cocaine, heroin or fentanyl in Perry’s system.

In his 2022 memoir, Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing, Perry wrote about taking ketamine daily at certain points to help with addiction, pain and depression.

“Has my name written all over it – they might as well have called it ‘Matty’,” he wrote of the drug.

Perry became one of the world’s most recognised actors during Friends’ 10-year run, from 1994 to 2004.

The sitcom, also starring Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc and David Schwimmer, followed the ups and downs of six young singletons in New York.

Perry’s sudden death stunned his castmates, friends, family and fans worldwide, drawing heartfelt tributes for the Canadian-born actor.

“Oh boy, this one has cut deep,” Aniston, who played Rachel on Friends, said on Instagram last month.

“He was such a part of our DNA. We were always the six of us. This was a chosen family that forever changed the course of who we were and what our path was going to be.”



Al Jazeera and news agencies

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