“I was just in utter shock. My first impulse was to text him, honestly. And then deep sadness,” Kauffman, 67, told Today on Wednesday, November 1, about her reaction to Perry’s death. “It’s hard to grasp. You know, one minute he’s here and happy, and then poof. And doing good in the world. Really doing good in the world.”
The Los Angeles coroner’s office confirmed that Perry died from an apparent drowning at age 54 on Saturday, October 28. Police responded to a call of someone in cardiac arrest at a Los Angeles home, where they found the actor unconscious in a hot tub. While an initial autopsy was completed, Perry’s cause of death was “deferred” pending a toxicology report.
Perry was previously candid about his battle with addiction through the years, confessing in 2022 that he expected people to be shocked by his death but not necessarily surprised. Crane, 66, agreed with the comment, adding on Wednesday, “I would say that’s probably true. Given the journey he’d been on, and we were all aware of it, there was always a part that was kind of bracing for something like this. But it is still hard to believe because he was such a sort of alive person that it’s hard to believe he’s not here.”
While filming Friends, which aired from 1994 to 2004, Perry developed an addiction to Vicodin after a Jet Ski accident. He subsequently began to abuse alcohol, which affected his performance on the set of the sitcom and led to him being hospitalized with pancreatitis in 2000.
Perry made multiple attempts to get sober, entering treatment twice. He revealed to The New York Times in late 2022 that he had been in recovery for about 18 months, meaning he was newly sober when the Friends cast reunited to film a Max special in April 2021. Kauffman recalled being worried about Perry participating in the special, which took place shortly after Perry had emergency dental surgery.
“Yes, I was concerned about him. Knowing that he’d been through everything he’d been through, and every time he had surgery they’re giving him opioids for pain, and the cycle starts over again,” she said on Today. “So, yes, I was concerned about what point in the cycle he was in [at] that moment.”
Kauffman went on to praise Perry for the progress he made with his sobriety.
“He learned things throughout this, and what he learned more than anything is that he wants to help other addicts. And it gave him purpose,” she added. “He seemed better [when I last saw him] than I had seen in a while. I was so thrilled to see that. He was emotionally in a good place. He looked good. He quit smoking.”
Their final conversation, which took place two weeks ago, made Kauffman hopeful about Perry’s future.
“It was great. He was happy, and chipper. He didn’t seem weighed down by anything. He was in a really good place, which is why this seems so unfair,” she noted. “He was emotionally in a good place. He looked good.”
Kauffman concluded: “I lost a friend, in multiple ways. And what’s amazing is the outpouring from the fans who lost a friend of theirs, too. And I hope wherever he is, he feels it.”
Heartwarming tributes have been rolling in since news broke of Perry’s death. His Friends costars — Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc and David Schwimmer — released a joint statement on Monday, October 30, honoring Perry’s legacy.
“We are all so utterly devastated by the loss of Matthew. We were more than just cast mates. We are a family,” their statement read. “There is so much to say, but right now we’re going to take a moment to grieve and process this unfathomable loss,” read the statement. “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.”