Cause of Death-More Details Emerge about Matthew Perry’s Final Days

David Shankbone

Matthew Perry had struggled with drug abuse and addiction throughout his life, but in recent years, life had been looking up for the former “Friends” star. That’s one reason it shocked the world when Perry died in the hot tub at his home on October 28, 2023.

Perry has spent his final morning playing pickleball. Then he returned home and sent his assistant to run some errands. According to his assistant, everything seemed fine, but when the assistant returned, Perry was unresponsive in his hot tub.

According to the autopsy report from the County of Los Angeles Department of Medical Examiner, Perry’s official cause of death was determined to be “acute effects of ketamine.”

In the months leading up to Perry’s death, he had been receiving ketamine infusions on a regular basis, but his last infusion was a week and a half prior to his death. Ketamine only lasts for hours, so the ketamine found in Perry’s body when he died must have come from somewhere else.

In his 2022 memoir, Perry explained that he didn’t like the ketamine treatments. He wrote that he felt like he was “dying” during the treatments. He wrote, “Taking K is like being hit in the head with a giant happy shovel. But the hangover was rough and outweighed the shovel.” He added, “Ketamine was not for me.”

Dr. Bankole Johnson, a neuroscientist who spoke to Page Six, said, “It is more likely this was recreational ketamine use.” Johnson added, “It would be questionable medicine to provide ketamine to someone also using buprenorphine — a true recipe for disaster.”

According to the medical examiner’s report, “In the assistant’s bedroom, there were multiple open, empty, half-filled medication bottles prescribed to the decedent, as well as over-the-counter medications, vitamins, digestive aids and dishes filled with multiple various loose pills, tablets, caplets, candy and breath mints.” In addition, there were “prescribed ointments, digestive aids and oral rinses” in Perry’s bathroom. 

Multiple people who spoke to Perry in the days and hours before his death described him as doing well. An unnamed source who was mentioned in the medical examiner’s report described him as in “good spirits.”

Actress and former “Friends” co-star Jennifer Aniston told Variety that was texting Perry the morning of his death. She said, “I was literally texting with him that morning, funny Matty. He was not in pain. He wasn’t struggling. He was happy.” She added, “He had quit smoking. He was getting in shape. He was happy — that’s all I know.”

Watch the video below to learn more about the latest details about the events leading up to Perry’s death.