Friends director James Burrows has shared the immediate reactions of Jennifer AnistonCourteney Cox and Lisa Kudrow upon finding out their former Friends costar Matthew Perry died from an apparent drowning in his hot tub on October 28.

James, 82, said during a Thursday, November 2 interview on NBC’s Today that he reached out to “the girls” via text upon hearing the news of Matthew’s death. “They were destroyed,” he explained. “It’s a brother dying. He was part of a family and he was the first one to not be part of that family anymore.”

He didn’t reveal if he had contacted the other main Friends costars, Matt LeBlanc and David Schwimmer, but James said it took “a couple of days to just let it soak in” that Matthew had died at the age of 54.

James directed 15 episodes of Friends during the show’s 10 year run and praised Matthew’s unique talent at playing Chandler Bing. “He was incredibly inventive. He was inventive with how he did a line,” adding, “He was really funny. He was a little awkward, too. Chandler was awkward and Matthew was awkward. It was a perfect, perfect meld.”

Matthew’s five costars released a joint statement about his death on Monday, October 30, noting that they would have individual tributes at a later time as the pain was still too raw.

“We are all so utterly devastated by the loss of Matthew. We were more than just cast mates. We are a family,” their statement read. “There is so much to say, but right now we’re going to take a moment to grieve and process this unfathomable loss.”

The cast continued, “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.”

Other Friends recurring and guest stars had previously shared their feelings about Matthew’s death, including Maggie Wheeler, who played Chander’s on-again, off-again girlfriend Janice; Morgan Fairchild, who portrayed his character’s mother and Hank Azaria, who was also a close friend of Matthew’s offscreen.

The Los Angeles County Medical Examiner’s Office completed Matthew’s autopsy on Sunday, October 29, but listed the case as “deferred” as more testing was needed including a toxicology screening before a cause of death could be determined.

Matthew did not have meth or fentanyl in his system when he died, according to TMZ. The site reported on Wednesday, November 1 that initial tests done during the actor’s autopsy yielded those results.

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