Actor Matthew Perry died from ‘acute effects of ketamine’

Matthew Perry
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“Friends” star Matthew Perry died from the “acute effects” of the powerful sedative ketamine that, combined with other factors, caused the actor to lose consciousness and drown in his hot tub, according to an autopsy released on Friday.

The report from the Los Angeles County Medical Examiner came nearly seven weeks after Perry, 54, who publicly acknowledged decades of drug and alcohol abuse, was found by his live-in assistant floating face down and lifeless in the jacuzzi of his Los Angeles home.

Toxicology tests found ketamine, a short-acting anesthetic with hallucinogenic properties, in Perry’s body at high levels well within the range typically associated with general anesthesia used in monitored surgical care, the report said.

“Matthew Perry’s cause of death is determined to be from the acute effects of ketamine,” the autopsy concluded.

Coronary artery disease, the effects of the opioid-addiction medicine buprenorphine, also detected in his system, and drowning were listed as contributing factors in his death, which was ruled an accident.

The concentrations of ketamine in Perry’s body would have overstimulated his heart rate while depressing his breathing, likely leading him to lapse into unconsciousness before his face slipped below the water in the hot tub, the report said.

“The exact method of intake in Mr. Perry’s case is unknown,” the report said, adding that trace amounts of the drug showed up in his stomach. No recent needle marks were found on his body, it said.