Matthew Perry played pickleball just hours before his death on Saturday, spending some of his final moments playing the sport he had come to love and use as a tool to support his sobriety, his coach said.
Matthew Manasse, Perry’s pickleball coach, told NBC News he knows Perry was on the court for about an hour on the morning of Oct. 28, and that the actor played pickleball about four to five times a week.
“He fell in love with the sport and he really wanted to use it for his recovery, it was sort of his new thing he could get behind and have on his calendar,” Manasse said.
Manasse said he started working with the “Friends” actor about two years ago.
“I would bring all different types of people to come and play with him, and he would bring people too, people dealing with recovery issues,” Manasse said.
He added: “Everyone who came in contact with him really cared about his recovery journey and the flip side is he really cared about us. He cared about your success just as much as his own.”
Perry, 54, was found dead at his home in the Pacific Palisades neighborhood of Los Angeles, California, on Oct. 28, authorities said. Perry’s assistant was with him at his home, and then went out to run an errand, a source familiar with the matter told NBC News.
Upon returning to the home, Perry’s assistant found him unresponsive in his jacuzzi, the source said. Perry’s assistant then called 911, a source close to Perry told NBC News.
The Los Angeles County Fire Department responded to Perry’s home around 4 p.m., where he was pronounced dead. There were no obvious signs of trauma or foul play, two law enforcement sources told NBC News.
Manasse said he trained with Perry every day for a little over a year before Manasse left the country club where they trained for a new venture. He said the two had kept in occasional touch over the past few months, with calls and texts.
“He was doing great, from what I heard and what I knew,” Manasse said. “That’s the worst part about this. When I spoke to him he was chipper and upbeat — he was who he is, pumped about life.”
On Oct. 23, just days before his death, Perry shared a photo of himself lounging in a swimming pool at night. It appeared to be the last Instagram photo he posted.
Perry’s official cause of death is pending per the Los Angeles County Medical Examiner’s investigation, which will include toxicology testing.
The cause of death was “deferred” and further investigation was requested, according to a report released on Oct. 29 by the medical examiner’s office.
In the days since Perry’s death, fans have expressed their love for the actor, who played Chandler Bing on “Friends” from 1994 to 2004, leaving flowers and and handwritten notes outside of the New York City apartment building used for exterior shots on the show.
“Friends” co-creators Marta Kauffman and David Crane, as well as the show’s executive producer Kevin Bright, were among many who had paid tributes to Perry.
“We will always cherish the joy, the light, the blinding intelligence he brought to every moment — not just to his work, but in life as well,” they said in a statement to NBC News. “He was always the funniest person in the room. More than that, he was the sweetest, with a giving and selfless heart.”
They concluded: “This truly is The One Where Our Hearts Are Broken.”