Matthew Perry, widely recognized for portraying Chandler Bing on the iconic TV series Friends, tragically passed away at the age of 54. The Los Angeles County medical examiner’s office released an autopsy report indicating that Perry’s demise was primarily due to the “acute effects” of ketamine, a potent anesthetic with psychedelic properties, as reported by The New York Times.
On October 28, Perry was found unresponsive in a hot tub at his Los Angeles home, prompting widespread shock and grief among fans. The autopsy report revealed that his untimely death was also influenced by drowning, coronary artery disease, and the presence of the opioid buprenorphine.
Despite Perry’s engagement in ketamine infusion therapy, the autopsy report highlighted that the ketamine in his system at the time of death couldn’t be linked to his last known therapy session, occurring about a week and a half before the tragic incident. The report emphasized that the elevated levels of postmortem ketamine would lead to cardiovascular overstimulation and respiratory depression, akin to the effects of general anesthesia.
Furthermore, toxicology tests identified “therapeutic” levels of buprenorphine, a drug commonly used for addiction and pain treatment. Perry’s live-in assistant, in a witness statement, mentioned that he adhered to a prescribed regimen of buprenorphine twice a day as part of his treatment. The report also disclosed the presence of sedatives in Perry’s system, but no alcohol, methamphetamine, or cocaine was detected.
Unsealed records shed light on Perry’s final day, revealing that he played pickleball in the morning, and his assistant left around 1:37 p.m. for errands. Upon returning at 4 p.m., Perry was found floating face down in the hot tub. Despite immediate efforts, paramedics declared him dead upon arrival.
The autopsy report underscores the potential hazards associated with recreational or therapeutic ketamine use, emphasizing the importance of caution and adherence to proper medical protocols. Matthew Perry’s tragic loss serves as a poignant reminder of the intricate challenges faced by individuals dealing with mental health issues and addiction.