The Devastating First Reactions The Friends Cast Had After Matthew Perry's Death

"Friends" star Matthew Perry's unexpected death at 54 years old was a gut-wrenching blow to the millions of fans who watched him as the lovably awkward and perpetually sarcastic Chandler Bing. But for the cast and crew that knew Perry as a colleague, friend, and brother, the news of his passing was even more shocking.

James Burrows, director of the iconic sitcom, spoke to "Today" about his initial reaction to hearing of Perry's death on October 28, 2023. "I had to have a couple of days to just let it soak in. He was a part of a family, and he was the first one to not be part of that family anymore," Burrows said. 

"Friends" co-creator Marta Kauffman had a similarly heartbreaking response. "I was just in utter shock," Kauffman told "Today" host Hota Kotb. "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." The rest of the "Friends" group — David Schwimmer (Ross), Courteney Cox (Monica), Lisa Kudrow (Phoebe), Jennifer Aniston (Rachel), and Matt LeBlanc (Joey) — were equally distraught.

The cast of 'Friends' said they felt like they lost a close relative

In a statement first published by People, the five remaining "Friends" stars described their heartbreak over Matthew Perry's untimely death. "We are all so utterly devastated by the loss of Matthew. We were more than just cast mates. We are a family," the statement, signed by David Schwimmer, Lisa Kudrow, Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, and Matt LeBlanc, read. "There is so much to say, but right now, we're going to take a moment to grieve and process this unfathomable loss."

"For now, our thoughts and our love are with Matty's family, his friends, and everyone who loved him around the world," the statement concluded. Perry is survived by his mother, Suzanne Morrison; father, John Bennett Perry; step-father, Keith Morrison; and his five siblings: Caitlin, Emily, Will, Madeline Morrison, and Maria Perry (via NBC News). Although there were circulating rumors that Lisa Kudrow would adopt Perry's dog after his death, this turned out to be conjecture — Perry had no pets at the time of his death.

Perry's assistant called 911 after he discovered the beloved "Friends" actor unresponsive in a standalone jacuzzi in the backyard of his Pacific Palisades home. His cause of death has been listed as deferred pending further toxicology reports, though initial findings revealed there was no fentanyl or meth in his system, per TMZ.