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Matthew Perry Foundation launched to help people with drug addiction

A new foundation has been set up in the name of the late actor Matthew Perry to support people suffering from addiction.

A statement on the Matthew Perry Foundation's single-page website, launched on Friday, describes its mission as, "The realization of Matthew's enduring commitment to helping others struggling with the disease of addiction."

The Friends star, who died a week ago in Los Angeles at the age of 54, struggled with unhealthy alcohol and drug use for decades.

In his 2022 memoir Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing, Perry wrote candidly about his problems, as well as about his desire to use his fame to make a difference. He spoke about this intention in the many media interviews he gave at the time of the book's release.

"So I've gotta take advantage of that," he told ABC's Diane Sawyer. "I've gotta help as many people as I can."

The Matthew Perry Foundation was launched by the National Philanthropic Trust, a nonprofit that works with donors, foundations and financial institutions. It is already accepting donations.

The trust did not immediately respond to NPR's request for comment.

Other foundations focusing on addiction have been set up by celebrities and their families. Melissa Etheridge created the Etheridge Foundation in honor of her son who died of an opioid overdose in 2020. The family of Amy Winehouse established the Amy Winehouse Foundation after the pop star died from alcohol poisoning in 2011. And after Heath Ledger died from an accidental overdose in 2008, his mother created the foundation ScriptWise.

On Oct. 28, Perry's assistant found the actor unresponsive in the hot tub at his Pacific Palisades home. The cause of Perry's death is still under investigation.

Meanwhile, speculation has arisen in the media around the actor's fortune. According to CNBC, Perry made as much as $20 million per year in syndication fees, in large part to Friends. The star was never married, had no children and is survived by his divorced parents and five half-siblings.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Chloe Veltman
Chloe Veltman is a correspondent on NPR's Culture Desk.