Friends and Simpsons’ star Hank Azaria has paid a touching tribute to his ‘really good friend’ Matthew Perry following his tragic death.
In a statement, his devastated family said: "We are heartbroken by the tragic loss of our beloved son and brother.
"Matthew brought so much joy to the world, both as an actor and a friend.
"You all meant so much to him and we appreciate the tremendous outpouring of love."
Tributes have flooded in for the late actor with Friends co-creators Marta Kauffman and David Crane, along with executive producer Kevin Bright, saying in a joint statement: “He was always the funniest person in the room. More than that, he was the sweetest, with a giving and selfless heart.”
They added: “This truly is The One Where Our Hearts Are Broken.”
Azaria, who starred as Phoebe’s boyfriend David in the popular show, has also paid tribute to Perry, sharing a heartbroken message on Instagram, Azaria said that it was Perry who had helped him to get sober.
“Matthew was the first friend I made in Los Angeles, when I moved there. I was 21, he was 16,” Azaria said both revealing that they met while filming a pilot of a show that ‘never saw the light of day’.
He went on: “Matthew and I became really good friends and we were really more like brothers for a long time. We drank a lot together, we laughed a lot together, we were there for each other in the early days of our career.
“I really loved him. A lot of us who were close to him felt like we lost him to drugs and alcohol a long time ago because - as he documented in his autobiography - there was so much suffering.
"I had to pick up and put down that biography, like, 11 times, it was so painful for me to read.”
The actor then reflected on his own issues with alcohol, which he says Perry helped him overcome.
“I’m a sober guy for 17 years, and I wanna say that, the night I went into AA, Matthew brought me in,” he said.
“The whole first year I was sober, we went to meetings together.
“He was so caring and giving and wise. And he totally helped me get sober. And I really wish he could’ve, you know, found the – found it in himself to stay with the silver life more consistently.
“But it's heartbreaking, for those of us who loved him and knew him really well, personally.
"We just missed him. We just missed him. It’s one of the terrible things about this disease, is it just takes away the person you love.”
Azaria went on to heap praise on the comedy ‘genius’.
He added: “He just lived to laugh and every night he would - he was like a genius.
"He would weave - he would start to weave comedy threads together, just hanging out. A joke here, a joke there. And then by the end of the night, he’d weave them all together in this crescendo of hilarity.
"Most nights you spent with Matthew you were crying laughing by the end.”
He concluded: “As an actor, he was so brilliant. I just wish we could have gotten what the rest of his career would’ve been.”Featured Image Credit: Jon Kopaloff/Carlo Allegri/Getty Images