‘Friends’ stars react to ‘unfathomable loss’ of Matthew Perry

The cast of “Friends” is taking time to “grieve and process” the death of their former co-star Matthew Perry.

In a joint statement provided to CNN on Monday, Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, David Schwimmer and Matt LeBlanc wrote: “We are all so utterly devastated by the loss of Matthew. We were more than just cast mates. We are a family.”

“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, released by their individual representatives, 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.”

Perry died Saturday at his home in the Los Angeles area. He was 54.

Perry, 54, starred on the NBC sitcom “Friends” from 1994 to 2004 as Chandler Bing, the charming and sarcastic member of a group of tight-knit friends living in New York City. The show was one of the most popular of its era and has continued to reach young audiences on streaming platforms.

In his role, Perry was nominated for an Emmy in 2002 for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series, and he was also nominated in 2021 for executive producing the “Friends: The Reunion” special on what was then known as HBO Max.

Perry was found “unconscious in a stand-alone jacuzzi,” according to a statement from the Los Angeles Fire Department provided to CNN on Monday.

“A bystander had brought the man’s head above the water and gotten him to the edge, then Firefighters removed him from the water upon their arrival,” they said when asked about the incident at Perry’s address. “A rapid medical assessment, sadly, revealed the man was deceased prior to first responder arrival.”

The LACFD said the circumstances are being investigated by the Los Angeles Police Department and the Los Angeles County Medical Examiner, but there is currently no foul play suspected, a law enforcement source told CNN.

An autopsy has been conducted, but examiners are awaiting the results of toxicology reports in order to determine Perry’s cause of death, the medical examiner’s office told CNN on Sunday. Such reports can take weeks to complete.

On Sunday, “Friends” co-creators Marta Kauffman and David Crane and executive producer Kevin Bright released a statement to CNN, saying they were “shocked and deeply, deeply saddened by our beloved friend Matthew’s passing.”

“We will always cherish the joy, the light, the blinding intelligence he brought to every moment - not just to his work, but in life as well. He was always the funniest person in the room,” the statement said. “More than that, he was the sweetest, with a giving and selfless heart…This truly is The One Where Our Hearts Are Broken.”

‘Friends’ forever

The chemistry between the cast of “Friends” stretched far beyond their on-screen dynamic. The actors have remained close since the show ended in 2004.

In an emotional moment on HBO Max’s “Friends: The Reunion” special in 2021, Perry said that anytime they’d run into each other “that was the end of the night. You just stay with the person all night long and that was it.”

Perry’s castmates have also at times helped him work through his struggles with addiction. In his memoir, he recounted how a visit to his trailer from Aniston made him realize that his battle with alcoholism wasn’t as secret as he thought.

“‘I know you’re drinking,’ she said,” Perry wrote, later adding that being “confronted” by Aniston about his drinking was “devastating.”

Their close connection as a group carried over into their business dealings as well.

In 1996, the cast employed a then-landmark negotiation tactic to strike new deals with their studio: sticking together. By the end of the show’s run, each primary cast member was making $1 million per episode.

“It’s a very loving, tight knit group,” Perry said during a 2021 interview with Entertainment Tonight.

“When we see each other, it’s a very heartwarming thing,” he added.

CNN’s Taylor Romine, Josh Campbell, Cheri Mossburg, Dan Heching and Lisa Respers France contributed to this report.

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