LOS ANGELES – Matt LeBlanc on Tuesday wrote a heartfelt farewell to his longtime “Friends” scene partner Matthew Perry.
The “Episodes” and “Friends” actor, who had released a joint statement with his iconic co-stars in the days after Perry’s late-October death, became the first “Friends” cast member to share a more personal tribute to his friend: the sarcastic and financially supportive Chandler Bing to his dim-witted but good-natured Joey Tribbiani.
“Matthew. It is with a heavy heart I say goodbye,” LeBlanc wrote on Instagram, alongside photos of scenes from their Emmy-winning NBC sitcom.
“The times we had together are honestly among the favorite times of my life,” he added. “It was an honor to share the stage with you and to call you my friend. I will always smile when I think of you and I’ll never forget you. Never. Spread your wings and fly brother you’re finally free. Much love. And I guess you’re keeping the 20 bucks you owe me.”
LeBlanc’s post featured images of him and Perry from when they played roommates in the series, including their apartment shenanigans and numerous hugs.
Another showed a candid moment of the central cast hugging.
Perry and his five co-stars shared the screen and entertained live-audience members in the hit sitcom from 1994 to 2004 and scored new generations of fans from syndication and streaming. As the wisecracking Chandler, Perry brought his signature sarcasm to a playful group of actors that quickly became one of TV’s most iconic ensemble casts.
The beloved “comedic genius,” who died at 54, was mourned by Hollywood and beyond, as well as by his castmates in a joint statement on Oct. 30.
LeBlanc, Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow and David Schwimmer said that they “are all so utterly devastated by the loss.”
“We were more than just cast mates. We are a family,” they said. “There is so much to say, but right now we’re going to take a moment to grieve and process this unfathomable loss.
“In time we will say more, as and when we are able. For now, our thoughts and our love are with Matty’s family, his friends, and everyone who loved him around the world.”
The “Fools Rush In” and “The Odd Couple” star, who was open about his struggles with addiction for years, was found unresponsive in a hot tub on Oct. 28 and was declared dead at the scene.
While officials say they are working to determine a cause of death, the investigation could take three to six months to complete, the Los Angeles County Medical Examiner said earlier this month. Foul play has been ruled out.
(L.A. Times staff writer Alexandra Del Rosario contributed to this report.)