Matthew Perry's 'Friends' co-stars pay tribute to fallen cast mate

Friends cast appears with winner Jennifer Aniston at Emmy Awards
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(This Oct. 30 story has been refiled to fix a typo in paragraph 6)

By Steve Gorman

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The five surviving co-stars of the hit 1990s television sitcom "Friends" paid tribute on Monday to their fallen cast mate, Matthew Perry, in a joint message lamenting his death two days earlier as an "unfathomable loss."

In a brief statement published by People magazine, actors Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc and David Schwimmer spoke out publicly for the first time since news broke that Perry was found lifeless in the jacuzzi of his Los Angeles home on Saturday. He was 54.

"We are all so utterly devastated by the loss of Matthew. We were more than just cast mates. We are a family," the statement said. "There is so much to say, but right now we're going to take a moment to grieve and process this unfathomable loss."

The five former co-stars promised they would have more to say in time, "when we are able," adding, "For now, our thoughts and our love are with Matty's family, his friends and everyone who loved him around the world."

The cause and manner of Perry's death are to be determined by the Los Angeles County Medical Examiner's Office, following completion of an autopsy with toxicology tests.

Perry's death came one year after publication of his memoir, "Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing," which chronicled his decades-long struggle with addiction to prescription painkillers and alcohol. At the time, Perry said he had been sober for about 18 months.

Perry gained fame and remains best known for his celebrated role as the sardonically wise-cracking statistical analyst Chandler Bing on "Friends," which ranked among the top-10 prime time television series for much of its original 10-year run on the NBC network from 1994 to 2004.

The series, still popular in syndication, co-starred Perry and the rest of the ensemble "Friends" cast as a close-knit group of young singles who shared space and antics in each other's apartments and hung out together at the fictional Manhattan coffee house the "Central Perk."

(Reporting by Steve Gorman in Los Angeles; Editing by Lincoln Feast.)