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Matthew Perry’s sudden death sparks grief across sports world: Friends actor, former junior tennis star, and diehard NHL fan is remembered by ESPN’s Robert Griffin III as ‘more than Chandler Bing’

Athletes, teams, and sports fans are reacting to the sudden death of former Friends actor, Matthew Perry, who reportedly drowned at his Los Angeles home Saturday.

‘Matthew Perry was more than Chandler Bing,’ former NFL quarterback Robert Griffin III wrote on X. ‘He was what made Friends go. Sad to hear of his passing, but thankful for the memories he gave us. Rest in Peace.’

The 54-year-old American-Canadian actor was known as a diehard hockey fan, which prompted organists for the Nashville Predators and Los Angeles Kings to play the Friends theme during their respective games on Saturday night. 

Perry’s favorite club was the Ottawa Senators, and he even managed to sport their logo in his successful 2000 comedy, The Whole Nine Yards. 

The club honored Perry on social media following news of his death: ‘Saddened to learn about the passing of Matthew Perry, one of Ottawa’s proudest sons and the biggest hockey fan.’

Matthew Perry and guest attend New York Rangers vs New Jersey Devils playoff game in 2012
Matthew Perry (left) managed to sneak in an Ottawa Senators logo into the Whole Nine Yards
Matthew Perry also tossed out the first pitch before a LA Dodgers game back in 2012

‘Matthew Perry’s passing is a loss felt not only by his fans worldwide but also by the city of Ottawa,’ wrote on Senators fan on X. 

‘He was not only a talented actor but also a proud supporter of hockey. His love for the game and his contributions to both the entertainment and sports worlds will be remembered with great fondness. Our thoughts are with his family and the people of Ottawa during this difficult time.’

Perry also made frequent appearances around the NHL over the years, attending New York Rangers games at Madison Square Garden and also watching the Kings and Anaheim Ducks in Southern California.

Golden State Warriors owner Peter Guber and actor Matthew Perry watch a game in 2013

But Perry was more than just a hockey fan.

He tossed out the first pitch at a Los Angeles Dodgers game in 2012, and was also known to support the New England Patriots, according to Paramount.

Furthermore, Perry was frequently spotted at Los Angeles Lakers games during the Kobe Bryant-Shaquille O’Neal years of the early 2000s.  

And Perry didn’t just watch sports. Born in Massachusetts and raised in Ontario, Perry became one of the top-ranked Canadian junior players in his youth.

‘I needed to succeed at whatever I was doing so I could feel better about myself,’ Perry told The New York Times in 2002. ”I had this incredible drive on the tennis court, and that translated into acting.”

Ultimately Perry ranked 17th nationally in singles and third in doubles before acting became his main focus.

Several wrestlers also shared their grief on social media, including the WWE’s Alexa Bliss and retired star Mick Foley. 

‘I am really so sorry to hear of the death of actor Matthew Perry,’ Foley wrote. 

‘I am such a big fan of #Friends (I’ve been wearing a Friends shirt the past two days ) and Perry’s Chandler Bing character was the one I identified with most. My heart goes out to his family, friends and his many fans.’