Matthew Perry found purpose in helping other addicts, Friends creator says

Marta Kauffman and Matthew Perry in 2004
Marta Kauffman and Matthew Perry, in 2004
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Matthew Perry was "happy and chipper" when Friends co-creator Marta Kauffman spoke to him two weeks ago, she says.

Perry, who played Chandler in the TV sitcom, died on Saturday aged 54.

Kauffman told NBC's Today programme their last chat had been "great", adding: "He was in a really good place, which is why this seems so unfair."

Perry had battled addictions to alcohol and drugs for most of his life, but Kauffman said: "He wanted to help other addicts and it gave him purpose."

The actor was found dead in a hot tub at his Los Angeles home.

A post-mortem examination was inconclusive and officials are awaiting the results of toxicology tests.

Friends co-creator David Crane said helping other addicts "absolutely became his purpose his reason for being".

He turned his $10m Malibu beach compound into Perry House, a men's sober living facility, in 2012, and the project received an award from the White House the following year.

He sold it two years later but said he was still committed to providing services for recovering addicts.

'He was doing good in the world'

Kauffman said she had been concerned about him but he "seemed better than I had seen in a while", and he was "really doing good in the world".

Others paying tribute in recent days have included fellow actor Hank Azaria, who said Perry had been like a "brother" and helped him stop drinking.

In a video posted on Instagram he said: "The night I went into AA, Matthew brought me in.

"The whole first year I was sober, we went to meetings together and he was such a great... I got to tell him this. As a sober person he was so caring and giving and wise and he totally helped me get sober."

David Schwimmer, Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Matt LeBlanc, Lisa Kudrow and Matthew Perry
David Schwimmer, Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Matt LeBlanc and Lisa Kudrow said they were "utterly devastated"

In a joint statement released on Monday, Perry's five co-stars said they were "all so utterly devastated" by the news of his death.

"We were more than just castmates. We are a family," they wrote.

"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."

Other friends and co-stars, from Salma Hayek and Gwyneth Paltrow to Kathleen Turner, have paid their own tributes.

Hayek said she would "continue to cherish your silliness, your perseverance and your lovely heart".

Friends fans have been leaving flowers and messages outside the New York block of flats used as a location for the sitcom.

In his memoir, published last year, Perry estimated he had:

  • spent $7m trying to abstain

  • attended 6,000 Alcoholics Anonymous meetings

  • had 15 stints in rehab

More details have been released about the circumstances of his death. The Los Angeles Fire Department said, in a statement cited by the LA Times: "An adult male patient was deceased prior to first-response arrival.

"The patient was found by a bystander who had repositioned the victim where the head was out of water.

"Firefighters pulled the victim out of the [hot tub] and did a quick medical assessment, to find he was deceased."