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Psychologist explains why we react so strongly when a celebrity dies

Psychologist explains why we react so strongly when a celebrity dies

Friends fans have flooded social media with tributes after the passing of star Matthew Perry

Fans of Friends and Matthew Perry may be having a particularly bad time today.

The celebrity died yesterday (28 September) as he was reportedly found in a hot tub at his Los Angeles home.

At the age of 54, Perry was perhaps best known for playing Chandler Bing in hit sitcom Friends.

NBC – which aired the show - confirmed the tragic news in a statement: “We are incredibly saddened by the too soon passing of Matthew Perry.

“He brought so much joy to hundreds of millions of people around the world with his pitch-perfect comedic timing and wry wit. His legacy will live on through countless generations.”

Since the news of his death broke overnight, fans have flooded social media with tributes to the star.

Many paid tribute in the comments of his last Instagram post, writing: “Thank you for all of the laughter and joy you brought to the world. I hope you are at peace, and know how much you were beloved - truly beloved - by the world. Rest peacefully, F.R.I.E.N.D.”

The star played Chandler Bing on Friends.

Another put: “I’ve dreaded this day my whole life,” as others wrote: “We all lost a Friend today.”

There has been an outpouring of grief from fellow actors and fans, both who did and didn’t personally know Perry.

A psychotherapist explained why many of us react so strongly when a celebrity dies.

Especially if we grow up watching or listening to a certain star, their work can often leave a positive mark in our minds and memories.

Mental health expert Tom Kersting told Reader’s Digest: “For example, Tom Petty’s passing can trigger past memories of his songs that can take a person back to that specific time in life.

Perry passed away on Saturday at the age of 54.
Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

“An actor’s death can bring back memories of a movie he or she did, triggering memories from that time in your own life.”

For those who might be finding it difficult to deal with a star’s death, Kersting advises ‘to be grateful for the positive memories and fixate on that rather than on the sadness’.

He also assured that, while you may not be able to explain your grief or others don’t understand it, it doesn’t mean your feelings aren’t a valid response.

And if you do find the grief becomes overwhelming, don’t shy away from seeking professional help.

An investigation into Perry’s death is ongoing and a cause of death is yet to be confirmed.

There was no apparent foul play.

Featured Image Credit: AFP via Getty Images/Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Topics: Celebrity, Matthew Perry, Mental Health, TV and Film, US News