Matthew Perry, who charmed audiences across the globe as the sarcastic roommate Chandler Bing on the popular sitcom Friends, was reportedly found dead on Oct. 28 at his Los Angeles home from an apparent drowning, law enforcement sources confirmed to Rolling Stone. He was 54 years old. An LAPD spokesman said police “responded at 4:10 this afternoon to a death investigation for a male in his 50s.”
In addition to Friends, which ran for 10 seasons and 236 episodes, for a number of years was one of the most-watched television shows in America, and earned Perry an Emmy nomination in 2002 for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series, the actor earned a pair of Emmy nods for his scene-stealing turn as Associate White House Counsel Joe Quincy on The West Wing, and had memorable performances on Scrubs, The Good Wife/The Good Fight, and Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, as well as the films Fools Rush In, The Whole Nine Yards series, and 17 Again opposite Zac Efron.
When the news of Perry’s passing broke Saturday afternoon, a number of prominent right-wing/anti-vax accounts on X (formerly Twitter) — including Kandiss Taylor, a former Republican candidate for governor of Georgia and current GOP chair of Georgia’s 1st congressional district (who also recently compared Taylor Swift to Satan) — were quick to blame the actor’s death on Perry being vaccinated for Covid-19 — even before an official cause of death had been established
While the anti-vax crowd loves few things more than rushing to baselessly blame the death of every vaccinated celebrity on the Covid-19 vaccine, and X has mutated into an ugly fount of disinformation under Elon Musk‘s rule, their decision to do so with Perry is especially egregious given the star’s long, detailed history of health problems stemming from his addiction issues.
Perry said his substance abuse began when he started drinking at the age of 14, and he later became addicted to Vicodin, OxyContin, and Xanax, He first entered rehab in 1997, at the height of his Friends fame, after he became addicted to Vicodin following a jet-ski accident, and estimates he’s spent $9 million on his addiction battle.
“I would fake back injuries. I would fake migraine headaches. I had eight doctors going at the same time,” the actor told The New York Times in 2022. “I would wake up and have to get 55 Vicodin that day, and figure out how to do it. When you’re a drug addict, it’s all math. I go to this place, and I need to take three. And then I go to this place, and I’m going to take five because I’m going to be there longer. It’s exhausting but you have to do it or you get very, very sick. I wasn’t doing it to feel high or to feel good. I certainly wasn’t a partier; I just wanted to sit on my couch, take five Vicodin and watch a movie. That was heaven for me. It no longer is… I’ve probably spent $9 million or something trying to get sober.”
In previous interviews, Perry admitted to being in rehab at least 15 times and getting 14 surgeries on his stomach due to gastrointestinal perforation stemming from his opioid abuse. Then, at the age of 49, his colon burst from excessive opioid use and he spent two weeks in a coma and five months in the hospital, he wrote in his bestselling 2022 memoir, Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing.
“The doctors told my family that I had a 2 percent chance to live,” Perry wrote in his memoir. “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.”
In late 2020, Perry had to pull out of filming a cameo in Adam McKay’s climate change satire Don’t Look Up after his heart stopped for five minutes and his ribs had to be broken to resuscitate him, he detailed in his memoir.
All of the aforementioned health scares happened before Perry first posted about taking the Covid-19 vaccine in May 2021.
There are few things more ghoulish than cruelly exploiting a beloved stranger’s death to advance your bullshit agenda.