The cause of Matthew Perry’s death at his home in Los Angeles will require additional investigation by the Los Angeles County Medical Examiner’s Office, which listed his cause of death as “deferred” in an update of its record for the actor on Sunday.
Experts told the New York Times that it could take weeks or months to complete a toxicology screening and examine other evidence. Detectives from the Robbery Homicide division have launched a preliminary investigation due to Perry’s “celebrity status.” LAPD Capt. Scot Williams, who leads the division, told the LA Times Sunday that the “cause of death may not be known for some time, but at this point foul play is not suspected.”
On Saturday, a spokesperson for the Los Angeles Police Department told Rolling Stone that police “responded at 4:10 this afternoon to a death investigation for a male in his fifties.” Law enforcement said that Perry died in an apparent drowning at his Los Angeles home.
Perry was open about his addiction to alcohol and drugs, including painkillers. He served several stints in rehab, including while he was a cast member on Friends; Perry later said he was taking up to 55 Vicodin a day during the filming of the series’ third season. In his memoir, Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing, the actor candidly addressed his struggles, opening with the line: “Hi, my name is Matthew, although you may know me by another name. My friends call me Matty. And I should be dead.”
Following the news of his death, Simpsons star Hank Azaria, spoke about his long friendship with Matthew Perry and credited the actor with helping him get sober. “It’s heartbreaking for those of us who loved him and knew him really well, personally,” said Azaria. “We missed him, we just missed him. It’s one of the terrible things about this disease, is it just takes away the person you love.”
In a separate statement, Friends co-creators Marta Kauffman, David Crane, and Kevin Bright remembered Perry, whose biting sarcasm and impeccable comedic timing was a crucial ingredient to global success of the series.
“He was a brilliant talent. It’s a cliche to say that an actor makes a role their own, but in Matthew’s case, there are no truer words. From the day we first heard him embody the role of Chandler Bing, there was no one else for us,” they wrote. “We will always cherish the joy, the light, the blinding intelligence he brought to every moment — not just to his work, but in life as well. He was always the funniest person in the room. More than that, he was the sweetest, with a giving and selfless heart.”