(CP) Actor Matthew Perry, famously known for his role as Chandler Bing in the hit NBC sitcom "Friends," died in his Los Angeles-area home at the age of 54 on Saturday, and since the news of his death, the actor's comments about God and the afterlife have resurfaced.
In his 2022 memoir Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing: A Memoir, Perry is very candid about his past addiction issues and a near-death experience following a burst colon due to opioid abuse. Perry had undergone 14 stints in rehab, 15 stomach surgeries and dozens of attempts at detox.
In his autobiography, Perry revealed that at his lowest point, he turned to God in desperation.
"God, please help me, show me that you are here," he recalled praying.
Following the prayer, he described having an encounter with the presence of God, which caused him to weep uncontrollably.
"I wasn't crying because I was sad — I was crying because for the first time in my life, I felt OK," he noted. "I felt safe, taken care of.
"He saved me that day, and for all days, no matter what," Perry testified.
The comedic performer revealed that up until that point he spent years struggling with faith, but that encounter changed everything for him.
"I had been in the presence of God. I was certain of it," he declared
As previously reported, in a 2022 interview with ABC News's Diane Sawyer, Perry recounted the first time he prayed to God, but it was a shallow prayer that he was not proud of.
During his first prayer to God, Perry said anything could be done to him so long as he became famous.
"That was the first time I ever prayed. And I look back at it as a dumb prayer, like a prayer of a really young person," he told Sawyer.
The actor believed at the time that fame would cure his addiction but later realized it worsened it.
In his book, Perry said that his first prayer did not compare to the divine encounter he had with God.
"This time I had prayed for the right thing: help. God had shown me a sliver of what life could be," he shared. "He saved me that day, and for all days, no matter what. He had turned me into a seeker, not only of sobriety, and truth, but also of Him."
His autobiography was released on Nov. 1, 2022, almost a year before his death. He chillingly opens up the book with the line: "Hi, my name is Matthew, although you may know me by another name. My friends call me Matty. And I should be dead."
"I was given a 2% chance to survive the night," Perry told Maher. "They didn't tell me that, obviously, because I wasn't really there, but they told my family. And I was put on a thing called an ECMO [Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation] machine. ... They call that a Hail Mary. ... Five people were on ECMO that night, and the other four died, and I somehow made it."
Maher joked that God "must be a fan" of Perry's, to which the actor replied that he knows Maher's belief about the Creator, but he does, in fact, believe in a "higher power."
"I believe there is a higher power," Perry testified. "I have a very close relationship with Him that's helped me a lot."
Authorities discovered Perry unresponsive after reports of a cardiac arrest, TMZ reported, saying the death was due to an "apparent drowning." Later, the media outlet said he actually died at his own house after some physical activity Saturday morning.
Los Angeles Times reported that Perry was found unresponsive in a hot tub, although no foul play is suspected, adding that no drugs were found at the scene.
According to media reports, Perry returned home in the early morning after a two-hour pickleball session. Shortly after arriving, he sent his assistant out for an errand. When the assistant came back about two hours later, he found the actor unresponsive and immediately called 911.
Perry is survived by his parents and five siblings.