Matt LeBlanc is paying tribute to his former Friends co-star Matthew Perry. The 56-year-old actor took to Instagram on November 14 to pen a heartfelt message for Perry, who died at the age of 54 two weeks ago.
“Matthew, it is with a heavy heart I say goodbye,” LeBlanc began in his caption. “The times we had together are honestly among the favorite times of my life. It was an honor to share the stage with you and to call you my friend. I will always smile when I think of you, and I’ll never forget you. Never. Spread your wings and fly brother you’re finally free. Much love. And I guess you’re keeping the 20 bucks you owe me.”
LeBlanc is the first Friends cast member to individually break their silence on the 17 Again actor’s untimely death. He and former castmates Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, David Schwimmer and Lisa Kudrow provided a heartbreaking statement to PEOPLE on October 30.
“We are all so utterly devastated by the loss of Matthew,” the group said. “We were more than just castmates. We are a family. There is so much to say, but right now, we’re going to take a moment to grieve and process this unfathomable loss. In time, we will say more, as and when we are able. For now, our thoughts and our love are with Matty’s family, his friends, and everyone who loved him around the world.”
On October 28, Perry was found dead in his jacuzzi at home in California. His cause of death was “deferred,” the Los Angeles County Department of Health announced. A toxicology report is still in progress, but officials confirmed that no fentanyl nor meth was found in his system when he died.
The Odd Couple alum previously struggled with drug addiction, and he was open about his sobriety journey in his 2022 memoir, Friends, Lovers and the Big Terrible Thing. In one excerpt from his book, Perry detailed his drug use on the set of Friends.
Though the 1990s sitcom was one of his most notable roles, Perry previously noted that he wanted to be remembered for more than his character, Chandler Bing. While promoting his book in an interview on the “Q With Tom Power” podcast, Perry pointed out that he wanted his name to be associated with helping those who struggle with addiction.
“The best thing about me, bar none, is that if somebody comes to me and says, ‘I can’t stop drinking, can you help me?’ I can say ‘yes’ and follow up and do it,” the Serving Sara actor said at the time. “When I die, I don’t want Friends to be the first thing that’s mentioned. I want that to be the first thing that’s mentioned. And I’m gonna live the rest of my life proving that.”
If you or someone you know is struggling with substance abuse, contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).