Matthew Perry was "happy" and "sober" weeks before his death, according to Friends co-creator Marta Kauffman. The news comes as Perry's family, friends and adoring fans wait for answers about how he passed away. One of the last people to see Perry alive also spoke out on Wednesday and said he was in "extremely good spirits" and talked "enthusiastically about the things he had coming up in his life" just 24 hours before he was found deceased.
Here's the latest.
"He was in a really good place, which is why this seems so unfair."
Kauffman spoke with Perry two weeks ago and said their final conversation "was great."
"He was happy, and chipper. He didn't seem weighed down by anything," she recalled to Hoda Kotb on the Today show. Kauffman "was in utter shock" when she heard that Perry died.
"My first impulse was to text him, honestly. And then deep sadness... 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," she explained.
In an exclusive interview, ‘Friends’ creators Marta Kauffman and David Crane remember Matthew Perry.
They speak to @hodakotb about the loss of the actor, the last conversations they had with him and the impact he made in the world. pic.twitter.com/96FcJkbghE
— TODAY (@TODAYshow) November 1, 2023
Kauffman added that Perry "seemed better 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," she shared, noting that "he was sober" and seemed in a different space than when he was in the throes of addiction. "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."
Investigation into Perry's death is ongoing
The LAPD had no new information to share on Wednesday when contacted by Yahoo. The spokesperson also said they couldn't comment on TMZ's report citing law enforcement sources who claimed Perry's death was not the effect of a fentanyl or meth overdose, per initial tests, and referred us to the Los Angeles Medical Examiner (DME). A rep for the coroner's office did not comment on that report and shared the following statement:
"The DME's role is to inquire into and determine the circumstances, manner, and cause of all sudden, violent, or unexpected deaths, and those deaths where the decedent has not been seen by a physician 20 days prior to death," a press release reads. "The examination reports, including the cause and manner of death, will be made available once toxicological results are completed and the report finalized."
It will take weeks, if not months to get an official cause of death
An autopsy was completed, but deferred, pending toxicology results. The Los Angeles Times spoke to retired coroners to provide context on why the investigation is expected to be lengthy. The LAPD's robbery-homicide division will interview people who saw Perry before his death and those who knew him well. Multiple details from Perry's house, where he was found, were noted and could be crucial in coming to a determination.
"Even the temperature of the jacuzzi will be taken," said Craig Harvey, a retired chief of coroner's investigations. "We do everything you see on TV, but it takes time."
The outlet cited law enforcement sources who stated that no illegal drugs were found at Perry's residence, but prescription medications were recovered.
It's unclear how long Perry was in the hot tub before he was discovered
A person, believed to be the actor's assistant, called 911 after finding Perry in the water on Saturday afternoon. First responders arrived shortly after 4 p.m. The Los Angeles Fire Department, which was first on the scene, would not comment on Wednesday when reached by Yahoo regarding a TMZ report that Perry's body was not waterlogged.
In a statement released on Monday, a spokesperson for the LAFD confirmed "an adult male unconscious in a stand-alone hot tub. A bystander had brought the man's head above the water and gotten him to the edge, then Firefighters removed him from the water upon their arrival. A rapid medical assessment, sadly, revealed the man was deceased prior to first responder arrival."
Perry seemed in good spirits 24 hours before death
TMZ obtained images of the actor dining with a brunette one day before his sudden passing, and according to witnesses, he appeared in good spirits on Friday afternoon at the Hotel Bel-Air. Onlookers told the outlet that Perry and his companion were seated at the table for over an hour and left together.
The woman was later identified as Athenna Crosby, 25-year-old model and entertainment reporter. She spoke out on her Instagram Stories on Wednesday afternoon.
"I wasn't going to speak about this but what I will say is I had the honor of knowing Matthew personally, Crosby wrote with a black-and-white picture of Perry. "I am so devastated from his death but felt it was in poor taste to talk about it publicly as the attention should not be on me but rather on him and his legacy and he was an extremely private person and I always respected that in our friendship. But indeed, we were friends and I was one of the last people to speak to him and see him before he passed."
Crosby then shared a screenshot of the TMZ article and added: "I want to emphasize that Matthew was in extremely good spirits and talked to me enthusiastically about the things he had coming up in his life. He was so happy and vibrant. Please refrain from any speculation surrounding his death and know that the man was on a comeback and truly deserved more time on this earth."
Perry was set to launch foundation helping others with addiction
The actor was open about his years-long addiction to alcohol and prescription painkillers, which he detailed in last year's memoir Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing. Throughout his life, he advocated for those struggling with similar demons. Before his sudden passing, Perry was reportedly forming a foundation to help those who suffer with substance abuse.
"When I die, I know people will talk about Friends, Friends, Friends," Perry wrote in his memoir. "But when I die, as far as my so-called accomplishments go, it would be nice if Friends were listed far behind the things I did to try to help other people. I know it won't happen, but it would be nice."
Friends creators worried about Perry at 2021 reunion
Perry's appearance during the Friends cast reunion two years ago alarmed fans as his speech was off. The actor later revealed he had emergency dental surgery ahead of highly-anticipated televised event. Kauffman and co-creator David Crane told Kotb they were worried as well.
"Yes, I was concerned about him," Kauffman said on Wednesday's Today. "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. So, yes, I was concerned about what point in the cycle he was in that moment.”
Crane added: "I think when we talk about Matthew, we were all very aware that our priority was supporting him."
Kotb asked the writers about Perry's prediction that his death would be surprising, but not shocking.
"I would say that's probably true," Crane replied. "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."
Courteney Cox, David Schwimmer seen in public for the first time
Two of Perry's beloved Friends co-stars were pictured in the wake of his death. Schwimmer was pictured in New York City and flashed a peace sign to photographers outside as he accepted a food delivery order. Cox was photographed looking somber on Monday night leaving Nobu Malibu with friends and her partner, Johnny McDaid. The actors released a joint statement along with Jennifer Aniston, Lisa Kudrow and Matt LeBlanc after Perry's death.
"We are all so utterly devastated by the loss of Matthew. We were more than just cast mates. We are a family," they said via People. "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."