His addiction to medication was indeed fatal to him. The death of actor Matthew Perry, American star of the series Friends , was caused by “the acute effects” of taking ketamine, the Los Angeles County (California) forensic medicine office announced on Friday, December 15. ).
Aged 54, Matthew Perry was found unconscious on October 28 by his assistant in a jacuzzi at his home in Pacific Palisades, a district of Los Angeles. Ketamine is an anesthetic sometimes misused for stimulating or euphoric purposes. However, other factors also contributed to his death, determined to be an “accident” , detailed the same source: “drowning” , “coronary heart disease” , and “effects of buprenorphine” , a drug used to treat opioid addiction.
“With the high levels of ketamine found in postmortem blood samples, the main lethal effects would come from both cardiovascular overstimulation and respiratory failure,” explains the forensic bureau report.
Relatives of Matthew Perry told investigators he was receiving ketamine infusion therapy, an experimental treatment used to treat depression and anxiety. But the medical examiner said the levels found in her body matched doses used for general anesthesia during surgery, and that her last treatment, a week and a half earlier, would not explain the amount detected.
“I should be dead”
The level of ketamine detected “would be enough to cause him to lose consciousness and loss of posture and ability to stay out of the water,” said Dr. Andrew Stolbach, a toxicologist at Johns Hopkins Medicine who reviewed the report. autopsy at the request of the Associated Press agency.
Buprenorphine, found at therapeutic levels in the actor’s blood, may have contributed to the respiratory problem, according to the autopsy.
The man who played the character Chandler Bing in the sitcom Friends had been battling his addiction to drugs and alcohol for years. In his memoirs published last year, he confided having undergone 65 withdrawal sessions, spending more than nine million dollars. He had also undergone several surgeries related to his drug addiction problems, including a seven-hour colon surgery in 2018, going so far as to say one day: “I should be dead” .
His sudden death sparked a flood of tributes, ranging from major Hollywood figures to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Matthew Perry, born in Massachusetts (north-east) to Canadian and American parents, was raised in Canada before moving to Los Angeles.
During a television appearance shortly before his death, the actor surprised the audience by admitting to having suffered from severe anxiety “every night” while filming Friends .
A true cultural phenomenon, the series broadcast between 1994 and 2004 left its mark on an entire generation of viewers. It tells the adventures of a group of happy friends – Rachel, Monica, Phoebe, Joey, Ross and Chandler – in New York, punctuated by romantic relationships, notably between Monica and Chandler and the endless saga between Rachel and Ross.
Alongside Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc and David Schwimmer, Matthew Perry made the success of this television series adored by American youth and beyond. In the end, the six heroes were paid around a million dollars per episode.
According to Variety , they even negotiated a fee of $2.5 million each for the filming of a reunion show in 2021. During this episode, Matthew Perry aroused the fears of his fans, visibly stammering his words. Two days after his death, the five other actors published a joint statement where they said they were “totally devastated” . In addition to the success of Friends which brought him worldwide fame, Matthew Perry starred in films such as Love at First Sight and Aftermath and My Neighbor Killer .