Actor Matthew Perry, who gained fame in the 1990s as the wise-cracking Chandler Bing in the top-rated US television comedy Friends and chronicled his long battle with substance abuse in a memoir, has died aged 54.
His death was confirmed by NBC, the broadcast network that aired Friends for 10 years, on X, formerly known as Twitter.
"We are incredibly saddened by the too soon passing of Matthew Perry," it posted.
"He brought so much joy to hundreds of millions of people around the world with his pitch perfect comedic timing and wry wit. His legacy will live on through countless generations."
Ironically, Perry's last post on Instagram, on October 23, was a photo of him sitting by a pool or jacuzzi at night, captioned: "Oh, so warm water swirling around makes you feel good? I'm Mattman."
Perry was best known for his role as Chandler in the hugely successful Friends, which ran for 10 seasons from 1994 to 2004, co-starring Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, David Schwimmer, Matt LeBlanc and Lisa Kudrow.
The series made celebrities of the six cast mates, playing a close-knit group of young adults who shared space in one another's apartments and met for coffee at Manhattan cafe Central Perk.
A major storyline involved a clandestine romance between Chandler and Monica, played by Cox, which the four other friends - Rachel, Joey, Phoebe and Ross - discovered one by one. The two characters eventually marry.
The group reunited 17 years after the series finale in a special that aired on HBO Max in 2021.
But none managed to rekindle the level of stardom and commercial success they garnered in what was for a time the most watched US. television program in prime time.
Hidden from public view during much of the original run was Perry's struggle with addiction to prescription drugs and alcohol, which he detailed in his 2022 memoir, Friends, Lovers and the Big Terrible Thing.
In a New York Times interview published in October 2022, Perry said he had been clean for 18 months, saying: "I've probably spent $9 million or something trying to get sober."
Perry recounted in his book that he had to be driven back to rehab right after shooting the episode of Chandler and Monica's wedding.
Following Friends, Perry starred in three short-lived network television ventures: Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, Mr Sunshine and Go On.
He also logged guest appearances or recurring roles in other hit TV shows, including The West Wing, Ally McBeal, Scrubs and Beverly Hills, 90210. His film credits include Fools Rush In, The Whole Nine Yards, Almost Heroes and Three to Tango.
Perry received one Emmy nomination for his Friends role and two more for his role on The West Wing.
The Massachusetts-born actor grew up in Ottawa after his mother, a Canadian journalist who once served as press secretary to former prime minister Pierre Trudeau, divorced Perry's father and married a Canadian broadcast personality.
Trudeau's son and incumbent Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau responded to his boyhood friend's "shocking and saddening" death.
"I'll never forget the schoolyard games we used to play, and I know people around the world are never going to forget the joy he brought them," Trudeau wrote on X.
As a youngster, Perry became a top-ranked junior tennis player before moving to LA to pursue acting and improvisational comedy.
In recent years, Perry had begun to open up about his health battles with ranged from pancreatitis to alcohol and opioid addiction.
He documented his struggle with addiction and an intense desire to please audiences in his memoir, Friends, Lovers and the Big Terrible Thing.
"Friends was huge. I couldn't jeopardise that. I loved the script. I loved my co-actors. I loved the scripts. I loved everything about the show but I was struggling with my addictions which only added to my sense of shame," he wrote.
"I had a secret and no one could know.
"I felt like I was gonna die if the live audience didn't laugh, and that's not healthy for sure. But I could sometimes say a line and the audience wouldn't laugh and I would sweat and sometimes go into convulsions," Perry wrote.
"If I didn't get the laugh I was supposed to get, I would freak out. I felt that every single night. This pressure left me in a bad place. I also knew of the six people making that show, only one of them was sick."
Perry recalled in his memoir that Aniston confronted him about being inebriated while filming.
"I know you're drinking," he remembered her telling him once. "We can smell it," she said, in what Perry called a "kind of weird but loving way, and the plural 'we' hit me like a sledgehammer."
In the foreword to Perry's memoir, Lisa Kudrow described him as "whip smart, charming, sweet, sensitive, very reasonable, and rational." She added: "That guy, with everything he was battling, was still there."
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Australian Associated Press and AP