Matthew Perry Honored at Emmys as Emotional Cover of ‘Friends’ Theme Song Plays During In Memoriam Tribute

Matthew Perry received an emotional tribute during the 2023 Emmys In Memoriam segment, which also included late stars such as Len Goodman, Andre Braugher, Lance Reddick, Paul Reubens, Barbra Walters, Kirstie Alley and more. Pop singer Charlie Puth and singer-songwriter duo The War and Treaty performed during the segment, first starting with a rendition of Puth’s “See You Again” before delivering a stripped-down cover of the “Friends” theme song (“I’ll Be There for You” by The Rembrandts).

Perry died unexpectedly on Oct. 28, 2023 at 54 years old. He was found unresponsive in a hot tub at his Los Angeles home, according to law enforcement. There were no signs of foul play or drugs on the scene. The Los Angeles County Medical Examiner’s Office later revealed that he died from “the acute effects of ketamine.”

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Perry was best known for playing the hilarious, sarcastic Chandler Bing on “Friends” in the ’90s and early 2000s. He starred in more than 200 episodes of the NBC sitcom across 10 seasons.

“We are all so utterly devastated by the loss of Matthew. We were more than just cast mates. We are a family. There is so much to say, but right now we’re going to take a moment to grieve and process this unfathomable loss,” Perry’s “Friends” cast members Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc and David Schwimmer wrote in a statement following the news of his death. “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.”

Perry’s “Friends” co-stars would each go on to share personal tributes to the actor, with Aniston exclusively telling Variety that she texted with him on the day of his death.

“He was happy. He was healthy. He had quit smoking. He was getting in shape. He was happy — that’s all I know,” Aniston said. “I was literally texting with him that morning, funny Matty. He was not in pain. He wasn’t struggling. He was happy.”

Matt LeBlanc wrote on Instagram that “the times we had together are honestly among the favorite times of my life,” adding: “It was an honor to share the stage with you and to call you my friend. I will always smile when I think of you and I’ll never forget you. Never. Spread your wings and fly brother you’re finally free. Much love. And I guess you’re keeping the 20 bucks you owe me.”

After the news of his death, the Matthew Perry Foundation was established to help individuals dealing with addiction.

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