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Matthew Perry's cause of death at 54 confirmed by coroner - details

The Friends star was found dead in his Pacific Palisades home on Saturday 28 October

Matthew Perry arrives at the 9th Annual Dinner Benefiting the Lili Claire Foundation at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on October 14, 2006 in Beverly Hills, California
Senior Lifestyle & Fashion Writer
Rebecca Lewis - Los Angeles
ReporterLos Angeles
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Matthew Perry's cause of death has been revealed to be from the acute effects of ketamine, according to the autopsy report released Friday by the Los Angeles County coroner.

A coroner's report listed drowning, coronary artery disease and buprenorphine effects as contributing factors that were not related to the immediate cause of death.

Matthew Perry poses at a photocall for "The End Of Longing", a new play which he wrote and stars in at The Playhouse Theatre in London© David M. Benett
Matthew Perry died age 54

Matthew died on October 28, 2023 at the age of 54.

The actor's body was found by his assistant, who had been sent out on errands after he had returned home from a game of pickleball. Matthew was found in the jacuzzi at his $6 million Pacific Palisades home in Los Angeles, with "apparent drowning" initially reported as the cause of death.

The autopsy revealed that the actor was on ketamine infusion therapy; his last therapy session was less than two weeks before death. His blood levels included high levels of ketamine, and the autopsy suggested he likely lapsed into unconsciousness before sliding under the water.

The ketamine therapy was to help treat depression and anxiety, but the report also indicated that the level of ketamine in his system at the time of death could not have been from his last session, because the half life of the drug is no more than four hours.

In medical terminology, acute means the severe and sudden onset of a condition.

On October 28, the Los Angeles Police Department confirmed that officers responded to a call at the actor's address regarding the death of a male in his 50s, but did not confirm the identity of the deceased. The callout was treated as a water rescue. 

Matthew was open about his history of drug and alcohol abuse in his memoir Friends, Lovers and the Big Terrible Thing

Matthew and Courteney Cox in "The One with the Truth About London" from 2001© NBC
Matthew and Courteney Cox in "The One with the Truth About London" from 2001

At age 49, the star's colon burst following years of opioid overuse and he spent months fighting for his life in hospital, followed by a further nine months living with a colostomy bag. 

Matthew admitted: "The doctors told my family that I had a two per cent chance to live. I was put on a thing called an ECMO machine, which does all the breathing for your heart and your lungs. And that's called a Hail Mary. No one survives that."

Courteney Cox Arquette as Monica Geller, Matthew Perry as Chandler Bing, David Schwimmer as Ross Geller, Jennifer Aniston as Rachel Green, Matt LeBlanc as Joey Tribbiani, Lisa Kudrow as Phoebe Buffay© NBC
Matthew Perry starred in Friends alongside Courteney Cox Arquette, David Schwimmer, Jennifer Aniston, Matt LeBlanc and Lisa Kudrow

In a statement shared with HELLO! following Matthew's death, Warner Bros. shared: "We are devastated by the passing of our dear friend Matthew Perry."

Matthew was an incredibly gifted actor and an indelible part of the Warner Bros. Television Group family. The impact of his comedic genius was felt around the world, and his legacy will live on in the hearts of so many. This is a heartbreaking day, and we send our love to his family, his loved ones, and all of his devoted fans."

385848 27: Cast members of NBC's comedy series "Friends." Pictured (l to r): David Schwimmer as Ross Geller, Courteney Cox as Monica Geller, Jennifer Aniston as Rachel Cook, Matthew Perry as Chandler Bing, Matt LeBlanc as Joey Tribbiani and Lisa Kudrow as Phoebe Buffay. Episode: "The One Where They All Turn Thirthy." (Photo by Warner Bros. Television)© Getty Images
The cast of Friends

In the days after his passing his Friends costars shared a heartbreaking tribute, writing: "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… In time we will say more, as and when we are able" they continued, and concluded: "For now, our thoughts and our love are with Matty's family, his friends, and everyone who loved him around the world."

In the following weeks, Lisa Kudrow, Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Matt LeBlanc and David Schwimmer all also shared their own individual memories of their friendship with Matt.

All five of them were pictured attending their co-star's funeral in Los Angeles on November 3.

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