Matthew Perry, renowned for his role as Chandler Bing on the iconic TV sitcom “Friends,” passed away at the age of 54, and a recent report from the Los Angeles County Medical Examiner has confirmed an accidental ketamine overdose as the cause of death.
Perry, who had battled addiction for decades, was found unconscious in his Los Angeles home’s swimming pool in October. Despite a 19-month period of reported sobriety, the medical examiner’s office revealed that Perry had succumbed to the acute effects of ketamine, a powerful sedative often used recreationally for its numbing and hallucinogenic properties.
The autopsy report identified drowning, coronary artery disease, and the effects of buprenorphine (used to treat opioid use disorder) as contributing factors to Perry’s tragic death, ultimately ruling it as an accident.
Ketamine, both a recreational drug and a medical anesthetic, can have severe consequences when used inappropriately. Perry had openly discussed his reliance on ketamine in his memoirs, attributing its use to pain relief and combating depression.
While “Friends” brought Perry global fame, he privately struggled with addiction, attending rehabilitation clinics multiple times. In 2018, he faced a burst colon related to drug use, leading to multiple surgeries.
The autopsy findings indicated that Perry’s ketamine levels were comparable to those used in general anesthesia for surgeries, causing overstimulation of the heart and respiratory issues. This likely led to unconsciousness and subsequent drowning.
The report did not specify the exact circumstances of Perry’s ketamine consumption, but trace amounts were found in his stomach, along with prescription medications and loose pills at his home. Perry was undergoing ketamine treatment, with his last known infusion over a week before his death.
Despite his struggles, Perry’s passing shocked fans and colleagues alike. His “Friends” co-stars, Jennifer Aniston and Matt LeBlanc, expressed grief and shared fond memories of their time together.
Perry’s memoir, published in 2022, documented his detox experiences and dedication to sobriety since 2001, emphasizing that he “should be dead” considering the challenges he faced.
The autopsy did not detect alcohol or traces of other drugs like cocaine, heroin, or fentanyl in Perry’s system. The actor’s sudden demise highlights the ongoing challenges faced by individuals dealing with addiction and its profound impact on their health and well-being.