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Matthew Perry’s Friends Worried a Drug Overdose Caused His Death: Sources (Exclusive)

Matthew Perry s Friends Worried About a Drug Overdose Caused His Death Sources
Matthew Perry.Mike Pont/WireImage/Getty Images

Prior to Matthew Perry‘s cause of death being determined, his loved ones suspected he died of an overdose.

“He’s been struggling with sobriety for years,” a source exclusively tells Us Weekly. “Every time he fell off the wagon there was a huge sense of shame.”

“After Friends ended there was a lot of depression and disappointment in his career,” the insider continues. “He struggled with his mental health but never got help for it. The way he dealt with that was to isolate. Since the show, he was financially taken care of and didn’t have to work, so it created an environment to use.”

Perry died on October 28 at age 54 from “the acute effects of ketamine,” according to the Los Angeles County Medical Examiner’s toxicology report, which was released on Friday, December 15. The report also listed drowning, coronary artery disease and the effects of buprenorphine — a drug used to treat opioid use — as contributing factors in his accidental death.

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The actor was open about his abuse of alcohol and opioids prior to his death. In his 2022 memoir, Friends, Lovers and the Big Terrible Thing, Perry wrote that ketamine “has my name written all over it — they might as well have called it ‘Matty.’”

Matthew Perry s Friends Worried About a Drug Overdose Caused His Death Sources
Matthew Perry. Gregg DeGuire/FilmMagic

Despite feeling as though he was “dying” during ketamine treatments, Perry explained that he would “continually sign up for this s–t” because “it was something different, and anything different is good. Taking K is like being hit in the head with a giant happy shovel. But the hangover was rough and outweighed the shovel.”

Perry stated he was 18 months sober at the time of the book’s publication, writing about going to rehab 15 times over the years. Still, his loved ones worried that his battle with addiction would only become harder as he grew increasingly lonely. “It was like a tale of loneliness and how having all the money and fame can’t really save anyone,” the source told Us. “Fame was a distraction from his depression and addiction but when that went away he no longer had that distraction. He was living an isolated life.”

Perry’s final serious relationship was with talent manager Molly Hurwitz. Their engagement ended after six months in June 2021. The breakup “broke his heart,” the insider tells Us. “He was never the same after that. He tried dating after that but he just didn’t have a connection.”

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The late sitcom star was never married and never had kids. “A big part of sadness in his life is also that he didn’t have children,” the source adds. “He wanted a family and he never found that person to settle down with and he was lonely.”

Hurwitz, who Perry dated for four years, paid tribute to her late ex-fiancé in an Instagram post days after his death.

“While I loved him deeper than I could comprehend, he was complicated, and he caused pain like I’d never known,” she wrote, in part. “No one in my adult life has had a more profound impact on me than Matthew Langford Perry. I have tremendous gratitude for that, for everything I learned from our relationship.”

She added, “I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Al Anon, an invaluable resource for those who love someone struggling with this destructive disease.”

Our special issue dedicated to Matthew Perry is available now.

Reporting by Sarah Jones

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