Friends cast pays tribute to Matthew Perry: 'We are all so utterly devastated'

His death has shocked many in Hollywood, including those who worked with him for a decade on the popular sitcom

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Matthew Perry, best known for his role as Chandler Bing on the TV show Friends, died on Sunday aged 54.

His death has shocked many in Hollywood, including the cast and crew that worked with him for a decade on the popular sitcom. On Monday evening, the show's main cast released a statement saying they were “utterly devastated” by the loss of their former co-star.

Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Matt LeBlanc, David Schwimmer and Lisa Kudrow spoke of their “unfathomable loss”.

“We are all so utterly devastated by the loss of Matthew,” the cast said in a joint statement released to People magazine.

“We were more than just castmates. We are a family. There is so much to say, but right now we're going to take a moment to grieve and process this unfathomable loss. In time we will say more, as and when we are able.

“For now, our thoughts and our love are with Matty's family, his friends and everyone who loved him around the world.”

Friends aired from 1994 to 2004 and featured Perry as Chandler and Aniston, Cox, Kudrow, LeBlanc and Schwimmer as his best friends Rachel, Monica, Phoebe, Joey and Ross, who were all in their twenties and thirties and lived and worked in New York City.

In the 2021 reunion special, Perry spoke about their bond, saying: “The best way that I can describe it is after the show was over, at a party or any kind of social gathering, if one of us bumped into each other, that was it. That was the end of the night. You just sat with the person all night long and that was it.”

The show’s co-creators Marta Kauffman and David Crane also issued a statement on social media. “We are shocked and deeply, deeply saddened by our beloved friend Matthew’s passing. It still seems impossible. All we can say is that we feel blessed to have had him as part of our lives.

“He was a brilliant talent. It’s a cliché 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.

“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.

“We send all of our love to his family and friends. This truly is The One Where Our Hearts Are Broken.”

Hank Azaria, who played Phoebe Buffay’s love interest David on the show, shared a video on Instagram revealing he’d been friends with Perry since his teenage years.

“We were really more like brothers for a long time … he was, to me, as funny as he was on Friends. And other things too. In person, he was just the funniest man ever. He just lived to laugh. He was a genius,” he said amid tears.

Michael Rapaport, who played Gary in four episodes of the show, wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter, that Perry was “always so nice, cool, chill & talented.” He added, “You are a part of American culture and will live on forever.”

Paget Brewster, who had a guest role as Chandler’s (and Joey's) ex-girlfriend Kathy, wrote: “I’m so very sad to hear about @MatthewPerry. He was lovely to me on Friends and every time I saw him in the decades after.

“Please read his book. It was his legacy to help. He won’t rest in peace though. He’s already too busy making everyone laugh up there.”

Morgan Fairchild, who played Chandler’s mother, wrote on X that she was “heart-broken about the untimely death of my ‘son’".

“The loss of such a brilliant young actor is a shock. I’m sending love & condolences to his friends & family, especially his dad,” she wrote.

She had also worked with Perry’s father, actor John Bennett Perry, on several television series.

Maggie Wheeler, who played Chandler’s on/off again girlfriend Janice on the show, wrote on her Instagram: “What a loss”.

“The world will miss you Matthew Perry. The joy you brought to so many in your too short lifetime will live on. I feel so very blessed by every creative moment we shared.”

Selma Blair, who also appeared on Friends, called Perry her “oldest boy friend” on her Instagram. “All of us loved Matthew Perry, and I did especially. Every day. I loved him unconditionally. And he me. And I’m broken. Broken hearted. Sweet dreams Matty.”

Updated: November 15, 2023, 8:37 AM