Friends star Matthew Perry's death ruled as accidental from 'acute effects of ketamine', says medical examiner

15 December 2023, 21:33 | Updated: 15 December 2023, 22:13

Friends star Matthew Perry's death has been ruled as accidental from the 'acute effects of ketamine', an LA medical examiner has ruled
Friends star Matthew Perry's death has been ruled as accidental from the 'acute effects of ketamine', an LA medical examiner has ruled. Picture: Alamy

By Christian Oliver

Friends star Matthew Perry's death has been ruled as accidental from the 'acute effects of ketamine', an LA medical examiner has ruled.

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Contributing to Perry's death were drowning, coronary artery disease, and effects of buprenorphine - a medicine used to treat opioid use disorder - the County of Los Angeles Department of Medical Examiner said.

Perry, best known for his role as Chandler Bing in US sitcom Friends, died at his home aged 54 on October 28 earlier this year.

An autopsy report from the examiner said Perry was "receiving ketamine infusion therapy for depression and anxiety" and had reportedly taken his most recent dose a week and a half before his death.

"The ketamine in his system at death could not be from that infusion therapy, since ketamine's half-life is three-to-four hours, or less," the report stated.

He was found in his swimming pool - following reports of a cardiac arrest - and was pronounced dead by paramedics at the scene.

LA medical examiners carried out a post-mortem on the sit-com star following his death on October 29.

Friends actors Matthew Perry and Lisa Kudrow attend the 12th Annual Triumph for Teens Awards Gala, June 15th, 2015 at the Montage Beverly Hills in Beverly Hills, California.
Friends actors Matthew Perry and Lisa Kudrow attend the 12th Annual Triumph for Teens Awards Gala, June 15th, 2015 at the Montage Beverly Hills in Beverly Hills, California. Picture: Alamy
Matthew Perry is pictured in 2004 film The Whole Ten Yards
Matthew Perry is pictured in 2004 film The Whole Ten Yards. Picture: Alamy

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Perry's funeral was held in November and was attended by fellow Friends stars Jennifer Aniston, Matt LeBlanc, Courtney Cox, David Schwimmer, and Lisa Kudrow.

Following his death in October, fans and friends paid tribute to Perry, with many laying flowers outside the iconic Friends apartment building in New York.

Perry became a worldwide star after appearing in Friends, and was nominated for an Emmy. He starred in all 234 episodes across 10 seasons from 1994-2004.

He joined his fellow co-stars for a reunion special hosted by James Corden in 2021.

His memoir, Friends, Lovers and the Big Terrible Thing, was released towards the end of last year.

Perry detailed in the book that he spent weeks in a coma due to drug abuse. He also revealed that he struggled with drug and alcohol addiction while he starred on Friends.

"I loved everything about the show but I was struggling with my addictions which only added to my sense of shame," he wrote.

"If I didn't get the laugh I was supposed to get I would freak out. I felt that every single night. This pressure left me in a bad place. I also knew of the six people making that show, only one of them was sick."

Matthew Perry and David Schwimmer in the Friends Reunion Special in 2021. Credit: HBO Max / Warner Bros. Television / Album
Matthew Perry and David Schwimmer in the Friends Reunion Special in 2021. Credit: HBO Max / Warner Bros. Television / Album. Picture: Alamy
MATTHEW PERRY pictured in film 17 Again, 2009
MATTHEW PERRY pictured in film 17 Again, 2009. Picture: Alamy

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Earlier this week, Friends co-star Jennifer Aniston revealed she had been messaging Perry on the morning of his death.

Aniston said Perry, who played Chandler on the beloved US sitcom, was "healthy" before his death.

She told Variety: "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. He was happy."Aniston, who played Rachel, said she wanted the public to know that Perry had been doing well before he died.

She said: "He worked so hard. He really was dealt a tough one. I miss him dearly. We all do. Boy, he made us laugh really hard."

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