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Autopsy shows Matthew Perry died from 'acute effects of ketamine'

The Los Angeles Medical Examiner’s Office report was released on Friday and showed that Perry’s blood tested positive for the drug.
Autopsy shows Matthew Perry died from 'acute effects of ketamine'
Posted at 3:19 PM, Dec 15, 2023

Actor Matthew Perry, best known for his starring role in the hit TV comedy "Friends," died from the "acute effects of ketamine," according to a report released by the Los Angeles Medical Examiner’s Office on Friday. 

The medical examiner said in the report that Perry had "high levels of ketamine found in his postmortem blood specimens," and said the drug carries possibly lethal effects "from both cardiovascular overstimulation and respiratory depression."

In October, the 54-year-old actor was found in his Los Angeles home's hot tub at around 4 p.m. on a Saturday after a call to emergency services was received. First responders said he had suffered a possible cardiac arrest at the time. 

SEE MORE: Jennifer Aniston, other 'Friends' co-stars each honor Matthew Perry

Authorities determined that no foul play was involved. 

TMZ, the first outlet to report the news, said that no prescription drugs were initially found at the scene, but authorities did confirm that prescription drugs including antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications were found.

According to the Los Angeles Times, detectives from the Los Angeles Police Department's robbery-homicide unit were also assigned to investigate. 

Born in Williamstown, Massachusetts, in 1969, Perry moved to Los Angeles as a teenager. He achieved fame in 1994 as Chandler Bing on NBC's "Friends," eventually earning a remarkable salary of $1 million per episode and receiving an Emmy nomination in 2002.

Perry's film credits include "Fools Rush In," "The Whole Nine Yards," "Serving Sara," and "17 Again."

In 2013, Perry shared details with People Magazine about his extended struggles with alcohol and opiates. 

"I couldn’t stop," he told the magazine. "Eventually things got so bad that I couldn’t hide it, and then everybody knew."

He eventually got sober and transformed his former Malibu beach residence into what he dubbed the Perry House, meant to be a men's sober living facility.

At the time of Perry's death, Warner Bros., the TV studio that produced "Friends," released a statement writing, "We are devastated by the passing of our dear friend Matthew Perry. Matthew was an incredibly gifted actor."

The studio said, "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."

Perry's life was full of interesting moments, including his time growing up in Canada while his mother worked on the press team for then-Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, according to his 2022 memoir. 

Current Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, the son of Pierre Trudeau, wrote, "Matthew Perry’s passing is shocking and saddening. I'll never forget the schoolyard games we used to play, and I know people around the world are never going to forget the joy he brought them. Thanks for all the laughs, Matthew. You were loved — and you will be missed."

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