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Matthew Perry’s co-star Bradley Whitford pens powerful tribute after pair appeared on The West Wing – hails his ‘heroic battle’ with addiction… amid Friends star’s death aged 54


Matthew Perry was remembered by his old The West Wing co-star Bradley Whitford in a heartbreaking Instagram post this Tuesday.

The late Friends star was found dead in the hot tub outside of his Pacific Palisades home in Los Angeles Saturday at the age of just 54.

Throughout his life, Perry was open about his struggles with drugs and alcohol, but initial toxicology reports revealed he had no meth or fentanyl in his system when he died, and the authorities did not unearth illegal drugs at his home.

Whitford, who acted with Perry on the hit Aaron Sorkin drama The West Wing as well as a co-starring role on sitcom Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip, paid tribute to his old friend’s ‘heroic’ struggle against addiction.

‘Without substances, Matt had a huge, open heart and a pyrotechnical, joyous brain,’ wrote Whitford. ‘I think the most beautiful parts of Matt made him the most vulnerable to the monster that he would have to fight for the rest of his life.’

Dearly departed: Matthew Perry was remembered by his old co-star Bradley Whitford in a heartbreaking Instagram post this Tuesday; the pair are pictured at the 2006 Emmys

Dearly departed: Matthew Perry was remembered by his old co-star Bradley Whitford in a heartbreaking Instagram post this Tuesday; the pair are pictured at the 2006 Emmys

Bond: Perry had a recurring role as Joe Quincy on The West Wing starring in three episodes in 2003 while Whitford starred on every episode of the series as Josh Lyman from 1999 to 2006

Bond: Perry had a recurring role as Joe Quincy on The West Wing starring in three episodes in 2003 while Whitford starred on every episode of the series as Josh Lyman from 1999 to 2006

Work: Whitford, who acted with Perry on the Aaron Sorkin sitcom Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip (pictured 2006), paid tribute to his old friend's 'heroic' struggle against addiction

Work: Whitford, who acted with Perry on the Aaron Sorkin sitcom Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip (pictured 2006), paid tribute to his old friend’s ‘heroic’ struggle against addiction

Perry had a recurring role as Joe Quincy on The West Wing starring in three episodes in 2003 while Whitford starred on every episode of the series as Josh Lyman from 1999 to 2006.

His message was attached to an old video of him and Perry goofing around during a TV interview to promote Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip.

The sitcom debuted in 2006, two years after Friends aired its finale, and the television interviewer asked Perry whether he found it ‘difficult to shake Chandler.’

‘You shook him this morning,’ Whitford joked, and Perry got in on the gag, vamping: ‘If you do that one more time, I’ll start shaking him right now.

‘Matthew Perry made me laugh. Hard,’ Whitford wrote in his new Instagram message this Wednesday in memory of his co-star.

‘You have not lived until you have witnessed one of his in-between-the-takes confidential riffs on the absurdity of show business and the idiocy of male confidence, wrapped up perfectly with the sudden realization that we were both grown men who wear makeup for a living.’

Whitford reflected: ‘Without substances, Matt had a huge, open heart and a pyrotechnical, joyous brain. I think the most beautiful parts of Matt made him the most vulnerable to the monster that he would have to fight for the rest of his life.’

In a tip of the hat to Perry’s struggles to overcome his addiction, he added: ‘His battle was heroic. They don’t have award shows for that. They should.’

Said he: ‘Matt was full of contradictions. He was hilariously self deprecating and insecure and wildly self confident. He was a fountain of light with a huge capacity for darkness. He was profoundly blessed and terribly cursed.’

'You shook him this morning': His message was attached to an old video of him and Perry goofing around during a TV interview to promote Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip

‘You shook him this morning’: His message was attached to an old video of him and Perry goofing around during a TV interview to promote Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip

'To honor Matt...': 'I think the most beautiful parts of Matt made him the most vulnerable to the monster that he would have to fight for the rest of his life,' wrote Whitford

‘To honor Matt…’: ‘I think the most beautiful parts of Matt made him the most vulnerable to the monster that he would have to fight for the rest of his life,’ wrote Whitford

Perry’s mother Suzanne and John are still alive, and Whitford warmly shared: I want his parents to know that Matt was kind. Not just to his costar. To everyone.’

He went on: ‘To honor Matt, I hope we can continue the work that mattered most to him: to open our hearts to so many who share his vulnerabilities, to encourage them to get the help they need, and to give them the love and the support they deserve.’

In conclusion, he wrote: ‘I’m so grateful that I had the opportunity to work with Matt, to spend some precious time with him, and most of all, to be his friend.’

The homage came as initial toxicology reports revealed here was no meth or fentanyl in Perry’s system when he drowned on Saturday.

According o a TMZ report, more in-depth testing is underway and would show if the beloved actor had any prescription medication in his system. 

When investigators responded to Perry’s home, they did not find any illegal drugs, but found prescription medication that was properly labeled and kept in storage bottles.

In his 2022 memoir, Friends, Lovers and the Big Terrible Thing, Perry wrote that after his colon exploded in 2018, he was prescribed opiates that he deemed insufficient to deal with his pain, prompting him to turn to street dealers to supply him with potentially fentanyl-laced OxyContin. 

‘The street pills were something like $75 per pill, so I was giving the guy $3,000 at a time, many times a week,’ he wrote. 

Perry's shock death in the hot tub at his Los Angeles home on Saturday prompted an outpouring of grief

Perry’s shock death in the hot tub at his Los Angeles home on Saturday prompted an outpouring of grief

Initial toxicology tests did not show fentanyl or meth in Perry's system, but more in-depth testing is underway. When police responded to Perry's home (pictured) they found prescription medication that was properly labeled and stored

Initial toxicology tests did not show fentanyl or meth in Perry’s system, but more in-depth testing is underway. When police responded to Perry’s home (pictured) they found prescription medication that was properly labeled and stored 

After an initial investigation, the Los Angeles County coroner has deferred giving a cause of death, which may take weeks to determine. Those who knew him maintain that Perry was clean and sober at the time of his death. 

Perry wrote in his memoir that he had spent $9 million trying to get sober

Perry wrote in his memoir that he had spent $9 million trying to get sober 

Perry wrote at the beginning of his million-selling memoir: ‘Hi, my name is Matthew, although you may know me by another name. My friends call me Matty. And I should be dead.’ 

On Sunday, Perry’s book was ranked No. 1 on Amazon, supplanting Britney Spears’ memoir.

As he filmed the sitcom-hit Friends in the 90s, many people were unaware of the struggle Perry had with addiction and an intense desire to please audiences.

‘Friends’ was huge. I couldn’t jeopardize that. I loved the script. I loved my co-actors. I loved the scripts. I loved everything about the show but I was struggling with my addictions which only added to my sense of shame,’ he wrote in his memoir. ‘I had a secret and no one could know.’

‘I felt like I was gonna die if the live audience didn’t laugh, and that’s not healthy for sure. But I could sometimes say a line and the audience wouldn’t laugh and I would sweat and sometimes go into convulsions.’ 

Perry wrote. ‘If I didn’t get the laugh I was supposed to get I would freak out. I felt that every single night. This pressure left me in a bad place. I also knew of the six people making that show, only one of them was sick.’

Perry's Friends co-stars saying they were 'devastated' by his death and that they had been more like family than castmates

Perry’s Friends co-stars saying they were ‘devastated’ by his death and that they had been more like family than castmates

After an initial investigation, the Los Angeles County coroner has deferred giving a cause of death, which may take weeks to determine. Those who knew him maintain that Perry was clean and sober at the time of his death

After an initial investigation, the Los Angeles County coroner has deferred giving a cause of death, which may take weeks to determine. Those who knew him maintain that Perry was clean and sober at the time of his death

He recalled in his memoir that co-star Jennifer Aniston confronted him about being inebriated while filming.

‘I know you’re drinking,’ he remembered her telling him once. ‘We can smell it,’ she said, in what Perry called a ‘kind of weird but loving way, and the plural ‘we’ hit me like a sledgehammer.’

A fellow member of Perry’s recovery program told DailyMail.com in an exclusive interview Tuesday: ‘Matty wasn’t drinking. He was a big part of our AA community. He was attending meetings, speaking at meetings and was working with a handful of newcomers.

‘He had a sponsor and was a sponsor. He seemed to be doing well.’

The insider said the actor had been focused on helping others battling addiction and had recently expressed interest in sharing his story through public speaking events.

‘Matty said he wanted to return to universities and speak about alcoholism. That was his gift. He could speak so well and motivate people,’ the source added.

‘It was important for him to reach the younger generation and spread his Don’t Give Up message. He really lived by those words.

Perry recalled in his memoir that co-star Jennifer Aniston confronted him about being inebriated while filming.

Perry recalled in his memoir that co-star Jennifer Aniston confronted him about being inebriated while filming.

‘He always made people laugh, even in meetings. But he was also spiritual, not religious, but spiritual. He walked the talk and knew this was his mission. To help other people, to give them hope.

‘Matty will forever be the definition of hope because he never, ever gave up. He turned his life around and helped countless people in the program. More than he could imagine.’

Fentanyl, a powerful opioid, is the deadliest drug in the U.S. today. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that drug overdose deaths have increased more than sevenfold from 2015 to 2021.

More than 100,000 deaths a year have been linked to drug overdoses since 2020 and about two-thirds of those are related to fentanyl. The death toll is more than 10 times as many drug deaths as in 1988, at the height of the crack epidemic.

The U.S. has taken a slew of actions to stem the tide of fentanyl coming into the country. Overall, the Biden administration has imposed over 200 sanctions related to the illegal drug trade.

State lawmakers nationwide are responding to the deadliest overdose crisis in U.S. history by pushing harsher penalties for possessing fentanyl.



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