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Matthew Perry, "Friends" Star, Dies at Age 54: A Look Back at His Struggles

by Venus Sanders

Matthew Perry, known for his role as Chandler Bing on the iconic sitcom "Friends," has passed away at the age of 54. The actor's tragic death was reported by TMZ, who stated that he was discovered in a jacuzzi at a residence in Los Angeles' upscale Pacific Palisades neighborhood on a Saturday afternoon.

Image Credit: David M. Benett / Contributor / Getty Images

Law enforcement sources revealed that first responders were called to the location after receiving a report of a cardiac arrest. Despite their swift response, Perry could not be revived.

Reports from the scene suggest that no drugs were found, and no signs of foul play were detected. The Los Angeles Police Department issued a statement regarding the incident, confirming that they responded to a death investigation in the 1800 block of Blue Sail Rd, where a male in his 50s was pronounced dead.

Perry's struggle with substance abuse was well-documented throughout his life, and he openly discussed his addictions in a memoir titled "Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing," published just last year.

Over the years, Perry made numerous attempts to overcome his issues, having entered rehab 15 times during his decades-long battle with addiction. He had also undergone 14 surgeries in an effort to address the damage to his stomach lining caused by alcohol and opioid abuse.

Tragically, Perry's personal struggles played out during the time he portrayed Chandler on "Friends," the beloved show that ran from 1994 to 2004. Perry was cast in the series when he was 24, and it was around this time that his issues with alcohol began to surface.

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In 1997, Perry was reportedly prescribed opioids following an accident, which ultimately led to his addiction to these powerful painkillers. His addiction became severe, with him consuming as many as 55 Vicodin pills per day, and his weight plummeted to just over 120 pounds.

Throughout the height of his "Friends" career, Perry was frequently in and out of treatment. He had multiple stints in rehab during the decade when he filmed the sitcom, but maintaining long-term sobriety proved to be an ongoing challenge. Perry reflected on the connection between his sobriety and his career, stating, "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.'"

Unfortunately, these periods of sobriety were short-lived, and the impact on his health was profound. During a book tour promoting his memoir last year, Perry disclosed that in 2018, he had a life-threatening health scare when he suffered a gastrointestinal perforation that nearly took his life. He spent months in the hospital, and he candidly shared the severity of the situation: "The doctors told my family that I had a 2 percent chance to live."

Perry's struggle with addiction and his battle to maintain sobriety was a poignant part of his life's narrative. His fans and fellow actors have expressed their grief at his untimely passing, remembering the actor for his iconic role on "Friends" and as someone who courageously faced his demons in the public eye. Matthew Perry's legacy lives on, both in the enduring charm of Chandler Bing and as a reminder of the real-life challenges he grappled with.


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