Matthew Perry Opened Up About His Near-Death Experience in 2022 Memoir

Matthew Perry's untimely death on Saturday shocked the world and left many fans and friends in mourning. However, as Perry wrote about in bold detail in his 2022 memoir, he'd come very close to dying five years earlier, while battling his addiction.

The Friends star revealed in his memoir, Friends, Lovers and the Big Terrible Thing, that he spent two weeks in a coma and five months in the hospital after his colon burst when he was 49 years old.

Perry recalled suffering a gastrointestinal perforation when his colon burst from opioid overuse. the actor fought for his life and wound up having to use a colostomy bag for nine months. Perry revealed in the book that he had 14 surgeries on his stomach, and that the scars served as "reminders to stay sober."

Speaking with People in a cover story last October, Perry explained why he had written his candid memoir and the challenges of opening up about his near-death experience.

"I wanted to share when I was safe from going into the dark side of everything again," Perry told the publication. "I had to wait until I was pretty safely sober -- and away from the active disease of alcoholism and addiction -- to write it all down. And the main thing was, I was pretty certain that it would help people."

"The doctors told my family that I had a two percent chance to live," he told People. "I was put on a thing called an ECMO machine, which does all the breathing for your heart and your lungs. And that's called a Hail Mary. No one survives that."

"There were five people put on an ECMO machine that night and the other four died and I survived," he added. "So the big question is why? Why was I the one? There has to be some kind of reason."

Matthew Perry Memoir
Flatiron Books/Amazon

Perry also revealed that his addiction to alcohol was just beginning when he was cast on the hit NBC sitcom at age 24. At one point during the series' 10-season run, he was taking 55 Vicodin a day and -- at 6 feet tall -- weighed only 128 pounds. "I didn't know how to stop," he admitted.

Perry reveals in the book that he has had 14 surgeries on his stomach, and that the scars serve as "reminders to stay sober." But the biggest motivating factor for steering clear of drugs came from his therapist, who told him, "The next time you think about taking Oxycontin, just think about having a colostomy bag for the rest of your life."

According to reports from TMZ, who spoke to law enforcement, and the Los Angeles Times, Perry was found dead in a hot tub at a house in Los Angeles, California, on Saturday, Oct. 28.

A rep for the Los Angeles Police Department tells ET, "West L.A. officers responded to [a residence] at 4:10 p.m. for a Death Investigation of a male in his 50s."

Perry's final post on Instagram was a photo of him in a pool. "Oh, so warm water swirling around makes you feel good? I'm Mattman," he captioned the image.

On Sunday, Perry's family released a statement mourning their loss.

"We are heartbroken by the tragic loss of our beloved son and brother," the unnamed family members said in their statement to People. "Matthew brought so much joy to the world, both as an actor and a friend."

Thanking those who have honored Perry's life and legacy, the statement continued, "You all meant so much to him and we appreciate the tremendous outpouring of love."

Perry never married but was briefly engaged to Molly Hurwitz for six months in 2021. He is survived by his mother, Suzanne Marie Morrison, and his father, John Bennett Perry.

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