December 10, 2023

Tributes are pouring in to honour the memory of late Friends actor Matthew Perry, who died suddenly at the age of 54 on Saturday.

Known for his comedic wit, Perry took on the classic role of Oscar Madison in a reboot of The Odd Couple that he helped executive produce. On the silver screen, he starred opposite Salma Hayek in the rom-com Fools Rush In and opposite Bruce Willis in crime comedy The Whole Nine Yards.

But undoubtedly, Perry’s best-known role is that of Chandler Bing on Friends, which chronicled the lives of six 20-somethings living in New York. Through this role, Perry touched the lives of legions of fans with his endlessly sarcastic yet lovable performance.

Click to play video: 'Fans Mourn the Loss of ‘Friends’ Star Matthew Perry'

Fans Mourn the Loss of ‘Friends’ Star Matthew Perry

The main ensemble cast of Friends, consisting of Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, David Schwimmer, Matt LeBlanc and Lisa Kudrow, have yet to break their silence on Perry’s death — though a joint statement is expected to come soon, according to reports.

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Perry commented on the main cast’s lasting bond in a reunion special streamed to HBO Max in 2021.

“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,” Perry said.

“You apologized to the people you were with, but they had to understand you had met somebody special to you and you were going to talk to that person for the rest of the night,” he continued. “And that’s the way it worked.”

HBO Max is honouring Perry with a tribute card at the start of each season of Friends, which can be streamed on the service.

“In memory of Matthew Perry 1969-2023,” the card reads, alongside a photo of the actor.

Click to play video: 'Trailer for ‘Friends: The Reunion’ on HBO Max finally arrives'

Trailer for ‘Friends: The Reunion’ on HBO Max finally arrives

How the ‘Friends’ community is reacting

The co-creators of Friends, Marta Kauffman and David Crane, as well as executive producer Kevin Bright, wrote in a statement that they “are shocked and deeply, deeply saddened by our beloved friend Matthew’s passing.”

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“It’s a cliche to say that an actor makes a role their own, but in Matthew’s case, there are no truer words,” the trio continued. “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.”

Actor Maggie Wheeler, who played Perry’s on-and-off girlfriend Janice in the show, wrote a message to the actor on Instagram, alongside a photo of them on set.

“The world will miss you Matthew Perry,” she wrote.

“The joy you brought to so many in your too short lifetime will live on,” she added. “What a loss.”

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Paul Rudd, who entered Friends in the later seasons as a love interest and eventual husband of Kudrow’s character, wrote: “Words can’t express how saddened I am to hear of Matthew’s passing.”

“You will be missed so so so dearly,” the Marvel actor added.

The actress who played Perry’s mother on the show, Morgan Fairchild, wrote she was “heartbroken about the untimely death of my ‘son.’”

“The lost of such a brilliant young actor is a shock,” she added, sending her condolences to Perry’s family.

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Paget Brewster, best known for her role on crime drama Criminal Minds, had a brief stint on Friends that involved a love triangle with Perry and LeBlanc’s characters.

She wrote that Perry had been “lovely to me” on the set of Friends “and every time I saw him in the decades after.”

“Please read his book,” she added, referencing Perry’s memoir Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing, which was published late last year. “It was his legacy to help. He won’t rest in peace though.. He’s already too busy making everyone laugh up there.”

Perry opened up about his struggles with opioid addiction in the memoir, a challenge he faced during the filming of Friends. He told the New York Times that he hopes the book encourages people struggling with addiction to seek help.

“There’s help out there,” he said. “If I didn’t get help, I wouldn’t be sitting here.”

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Aisha Tyler, who had a recurring role on the sitcom as a love interest for Schwimmer’s character — and later LeBlanc’s character, too — wrote that she “learned how to tell a joke perfectly just by watching him work.”

“I will never forget the moment he leaned in, on my first night of taping Friends, to tell me warmly, ‘get ready for your life to change,’” she added. “Rest well, Matthew Perry. Thank you for the kindness and laughter.”

The official Friends Instagram account wrote that Perry “was a true gift to us all.”

Warner Bros. Television Group, which produced the hit show, lauded the actor’s comedic chops.

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“Matthew was an incredibly gifted actor,” the statement from the production company reads. “The impact of his comedic genius was felt around the world, and his legacy will live on in the hearts of so many. This is a heartbreaking day, and we send our love to his family, his loved ones, and all of his devoted fans.”

Outside of the Friends community, a number of high-profile people are mourning the loss of Perry, including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Adele, Charlie Puth, Gwyneth Paltrow and more.

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