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Matthew Perry's funeral song has devastating backstory: Star's heartbreaking words about Don't Give Up

The Friends star revealed what the song meant to him in one of his last interviews

Matthew Perry at 'The Circle' film screening, Arrivals, Tribeca Film Festival, New York
Hanna Fillingham
US Managing Editor
5 November 2023
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Matthew Perry was laid to rest in an intimate ceremony on Saturday, which was held at Forest Lawn Memorial Park. 

The Friends star's funeral was attended by his close family and friends, who were all left in tears when the funeral song was played - which had a profound effect on Matthew himself in the last years of his life. 

Mourners listened to Peter Gabriel's 1986 song, 'Don't Give Up', featuring Kate Bush, which features the lyrics "Don’t give up, 'cause you have friends, don't give up, you're not the only one, don’t give up, no reason to be ashamed, don't give up, you still have us." 

VIDEO: Matthew Perry's heartbreaking last interview

In one of his last interviews before his untimely death aged 54, Matthew spoke to Tom Power at the Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema in Toronto on November 22, 2022, where he opened up about the song and why it was close to his heart. 

Tragically just a year before his death, Matthew had been asked by Tom what the soundtrack to his memoir, Friends, Lovers and the Big Terrible Thing, would be. 

Actor Matthew Perry rides the High Roller at The LINQ Promenade on June 11, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada.© Denise Truscello
Matthew Perry was laid to rest on Saturday November 4

Without hesitating, Matthew replied: "'Don't Give Up'. Listen to this song when you get home, Peter Gabriel and Kate Bush. I don't know if you've heard it as it was a long time ago but it's beautiful. 

MORE: Matthew Perry's heartbreaking words of advice revealed in last interview

MORE: Why Matthew Perry's death is even more tragic for ex Julia Roberts

"They are saying 'Don't give up.' I mean, come on, how am I not going to like that? The music video was just them hugging each other and the camera just went around until the song ended. It was so cool and I loved that. When I sign [my] book, I always put 'Don't give up' there, because you shouldn't give up." 

Matthew Perry with his Friends co-stars© Jim Smeal
Matthew Perry's Friends co-stars all attended his funeral

Matthew's words were met with applause from the audience. 

In attendance at the actor's funeral were his Friends co-stars - Jennifer Aniston, David Schwimmer, Lisa Kudrow, Matt Le Blanc and Courteney Cox. 

The group had remained close over the years and last week, they released an emotional statement following the passing of their friend and "brother". On Monday, their joint statement was released to People. 

Matthew Perry book
Matthew Perry revealed before his death that Don't Give Up would be the soundtrack to his memoir

It said: "We are all so utterly devastated by the loss of Matthew. We were more than just cast mates. We are a family." They continued: "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," the statement continued. 

"For now, our thoughts and our love are with Matty’s family, his friends, and everyone who loved him around the world." Matthew's family also released a statement following his passing. 

Matthew Perry shared a photo from his hot tub at his Pacific Palisades home© Instagram
Matthew Perry shared a photo from his hot tub at his Pacific Palisades home days before his tragic death

They said on Sunday: "We are heartbroken by the tragic loss of our beloved son and brother. Matthew brought so much joy to the world, both as an actor and a friend. You all meant so much to him and we appreciate the tremendous outpouring of love." 

The statement came from his mother Suzanne Perry, his father John Bennett Perry, and his five half-siblings through his parents' remarriages (they split up less than a year after welcoming Matthew in 1969). 

Matthew Perry poses with his father John Bennett Perry© Instagram
Matthew was incredibly close to his family - pictured with his father John Perry

Warner Bros. shared their reaction in a statement released to HELLO!: "We are devastated by the passing of our dear friend Matthew Perry," the studio penned. "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."

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