The group of friends lost one of their own: actor Matthew Perry, who played the character Chandler Bing in the hit sitcom “Friends,” was found dead in his home at the age of 54, American media reported on Saturday.
According to the Los Angeles Times, the actor was found unconscious by his assistant in his jacuzzi at his Los Angeles home. First responders were unable to revive him. A spokesperson for the Los Angeles police told AFP that they intervened at 4:10 p.m. without confirming the name of the deceased.
No clues suggesting that it could be a criminal act have been found, according to anonymous sources cited by the Los Angeles Times and the specialized media TMZ, which first announced the death.
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In a statement, Warner Bros. TV studio, which produced the iconic series, said it was “devastated” by the news of his death. “He was a true gift to all of us. Our thoughts are with his family, his loved ones and all his fans,” writes the studio.
Matthew Perry was best known for the role of prankster and clumsy Chandler Bing in the ultra-popular series “Friends”, which aired on NBC for ten seasons, from 1994 to 2004, totaling more than 230 episodes.
The actor had struggled with his addiction to painkillers and alcohol for years, and had attended rehabilitation clinics on several occasions. During a recent television appearance, Perry surprised the audience by admitting to having suffered from severe anxiety "every night" while filming "Friends."
In his memoir published last year, he admitted to undergoing 65 drug treatment sessions, spending more than $9 million.
According to TMZ, no drugs were found at the scene of the actor's death on Saturday.
He had undergone several surgeries linked to his drug addiction problems, including a seven-hour colon operation in 2018, going so far as to say one day: “I should be dead”.
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.
It tells the adventures of a group of happy friends - Rachel, Monica, Phoebe, Joey, Ross and Chandler - in New York, punctuated by romantic relationships including between Monica and Chandler.
The series “Friends” enjoyed immense audience success and left its mark on a generation of viewers. Its arrival on Netflix allowed it to attract a new audience, confirming the intact popularity of the sitcom, a genre that many said was in decline.
Reactions in Hollywood began to pour in on social media following the news of the death. "Oh no!!! Matthew Perry!! This tender, troubled soul,” writes actress Mina Sorvino, who starred with Perry in a television film, “Parallel Lives,” in 1994.
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Matthew Perry was born in Massachusetts (north-east) in 1969, to Canadian and American parents. He was raised between Montreal and Los Angeles. His mother is a Canadian journalist who worked for former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, while his father is an actor.
He played small roles before being the last one cast in "Friends" where he wowed fans with his caustic humor, sarcasm and lack of self-confidence.
Never married, he also did not win any Emmys, the prestigious American television awards, despite five nominations.