Canada Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was one of many to pay tribute to Matthew Perry shortly after the “Friends” star was found dead at age 54 on Saturday.
Trudeau and Perry went to elementary school together. Perry’s other, Suzanne Morrison, was also press secretary to Trudeau’s father, former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau.
“Matthew Perry’s passing is shocking and saddening. 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, formerly known as Twitter.
“Thanks for all the laughs, Matthew,” he continued. “You were loved – and you will be missed.”
In March 2017, Perry jokingly recalled when he and a pal “beat up” the future Prime Minister out of jealousy when they were in the fifth grade.
“We both beat him up. I think he was excelling in a sport that we weren’t, so it was pure jealousy,” Perry explained then, adding, “I think he was the only kid in school that we could beat up. … I’m not bragging about this. This is terrible. I was a stupid kid. I didn’t want to beat him up,” he said during “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” at the time.
“I think I was rather instrumental in him going to such great heights in becoming the Prime Minister,” he added. “I think he said, ‘I’m going to rise above this and become Prime Minister.’”
Two weeks later, Trudeau got in on the fun once he caught wind of Perry’s late-night appearance.
“I’ve been giving it some thought, and you know what, who hasn’t wanted to punch Chandler?” he tweeted in response. “How about a rematch @MatthewPerry?”
Perry died of an apparent drowning and was found dead in the jacuzzi of his home in the Pacific Palisades neighborhood of Los Angeles just after 4 p.m. on Saturday.
Law enforcement sources told TMZ there were no drugs found at the scene and no foul play is suspected, but an unidentified person did call first responders about a reported cardiac arrest.
Perry had a decades-long battle with addiction, entering rehab 15 times during his lifetime. He gave candid details about his struggles in his 2022 memoir, “Friends, Lovers and the Big Terrible Thing,” and was happy to recently confirm he was drug and alcohol-free since May 2021.
“I wanted to share when I was safe from going into the dark side of everything again,” he said. “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,” he told People as to why he decided then to share his story in his book.
“It’s important, but if you lose your sobriety, it doesn’t mean you lose all that time and education,” he noted. “Your sober date changes, but that’s all that changes. You know everything you knew before, as long as you were able to fight your way back without dying, you learn a lot.”