Los Angeles County’s Department of Medical Examiner revealed in a recent autopsy report that actor Matthew Perry, aged 54, passed away due to the “acute effects of ketamine.” The autopsy also noted contributing factors to his death, including coronary artery disease and the impact of buprenorphine. The report mentioned the presence of prescription medications at Perry’s residence but clarified that substances like alcohol, methamphetamine, cocaine, heroin, PCP, and fentanyl were not found in his system.
Perry, best known for his work in the entertainment industry, was found deceased on October 28 in a hot tub at his Pacific Palisades home in Los Angeles, after what appeared to be an accidental drowning. The autopsy highlighted trace amounts of ketamine in his stomach, although the exact method of its intake remained unclear. It was noted that Perry had previously received ketamine infusion therapy for depression and anxiety, with his last treatment occurring over a week before his death.
The report further detailed ketamine as a dissociative anesthetic with legitimate medical and surgical applications. Dr. Michael Baden, a forensic pathologist and former chief medical examiner of New York City, shared insights with Fox News Digital on ketamine’s history. Originally used in veterinary medicine, particularly for horse surgeries, it later became known for causing hallucinations, leading to its decreased use in animals and eventual emergence as a recreational drug in the 1960s and 70s.
Surprisingly, ketamine was not previously associated with Perry’s known history of substance abuse. He had been vocal about the dangers of drug addiction, but ketamine had not been mentioned in that context.
The Department of Medical Examiner initially deferred the cause of death, listing “other significant conditions” and then removed Perry’s case from the county website shortly after his passing. An autopsy was completed, with toxicology results pending at the time. There was no suspicion of foul play, and no illegal drugs were reportedly discovered at the scene.
Perry was laid to rest on November 3 at Forest Lawn Memorial Park. When first responders arrived at the scene of his death, they found him unresponsive in the hot tub. Efforts by a bystander to assist were noted, but Perry was declared deceased before the arrival of the emergency services. The Los Angeles Police Department’s Robbery-Homicide Division, which often handles high-profile cases, took over the investigation in coordination with the LA County Medical Examiner.