Matthew Perry‘s costars from Friends have released a group statement about his October 28 death, with Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc and David Schwimmer all signing the heartbreaking message.
“We are all so utterly devastated by the loss of Matthew. We were more than just cast mates. We are a family,” their statement issued on Monday, October 30 and originally obtained by People read. “There is so much to say, but right now we’re going to take a moment to grieve and process this unfathomable loss.”
The statement continued, “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.”
The message was signed from all five actors.
The six stars worked side-by-side on the hit NBC sitcom for a decade, between 1994 and 2004. They remained close long after the show ended, sharing Instagram photos of their group get-togethers much to the delight of Friends fans.
Various recurring actors and guest stars have paid tribute to Matthew following his death, including Maggie Wheeler, who played his character Chandler Bing’s on-again, off-again girlfriend Janice, Morgan Fairchild, who portrayed Chandler’s mom and Hank Azaria, who was also a close friend of Matthew’s off the set.
Matthew was found unresponsive by his assistant in the jacuzzi of his Pacific Palisades home. Paramedics were called but it was too late to revive the actor, who died from an apparent drowning. He was 54 years old.
The Los Angeles County Medical Examiner’s Office completed the autopsy on Matthew the following day, although his cause of death has been listed as “deferred” pending toxicology results, which could take weeks to get back.
Earlier on the day of his death, Matthew had played a game of pickleball but his partner revealed to Billy Bush that the actor — who played the sport daily — “had been fatigued today and over the past week. A little more than usual. He played for one hour then went home.”
The Fools Rush In star had been open about his substance abuse issues for years, revealing in his 2022 memoir, Friends, Lovers and the Big Terrible Thing, that he spent over $9 million in attempts to get sober, via trips to rehab and other means.
Matthew described how he began abusing alcohol when Friends debuted and only spent one season completely sober. “I could handle it, kind of. But by the time I was 34, I was really entrenched in a lot of trouble,” he wrote. But there were years that I was sober during that time. Season 9 was the year that I was sober the whole way through. And guess which season I got nominated for best actor? I was like, ‘That should tell me something.’”
“You can track the trajectory for my addiction if you gauge my weight from season to season,” the star explained in his book, writing, “When I’m carrying weight, it’s alcohol; when I’m skinny, it’s pills. When I have a goatee, it’s lots of pills.” At one point during production, Matthew was taking 55 Vicodin a day and weighed only 128 lbs.
Throughout the Emmy nominee’s struggles, his Friends castmates were by his side. They were “patient” and “understanding,” Matthew wrote about his costars in his memoir.
“It’s like penguins. Penguins, in nature, when one is sick, or when one is very injured, the other penguins surround it and prop it up. They walk around it until that penguin can walk on its own. That’s kind of what the cast did for me.”