Keith Morrison Says Stepson Matthew Perry Was 'Happy' Before His Death: 'He Hadn't Said That in a Long Time'

"I was there for him, and he knew it, and we were close," Morrison said of his relationship with Perry

<p>Gilbert Flores/Variety/Penske Media via Getty Images; Santiago Felipe/Getty Images</p> Keith Morrison, Matthew Perry

Gilbert Flores/Variety/Penske Media via Getty Images; Santiago Felipe/Getty Images

Keith Morrison, Matthew Perry

Keith Morrison is remembering his late stepson Matthew Perry.

While speaking to Hoda Kotb on the latest episode of her Making Space podcast that aired on Wednesday, Morrison, 76, opened up about Perry and his death on Oct. 28, 2023 at age 54.

The Dateline correspondent, who married the late actor's mom Suzanne in 1981, said of his grief, “As other people have told me hundreds of times, it doesn't go away. It’s with you every day. It’s with you all the time, and there’s some new aspect of it that assaults your brain."

“It’s not easy, he added. "Especially for his mom.”

"Toward the end of his life, they were closer than I've seen them for decades," Morrison explained of Perry's relationship with his mother Suzanne.

<p>Nathan Congleton/NBC via Getty Images</p> Keith Morrison

Nathan Congleton/NBC via Getty Images

Keith Morrison

Related: Matthew Perry's Will Names the Executors of His Estate and a $1 Million Trust with a Legendary Hollywood Link

Morrison continued of the late Friends star, "He was happy, and he said so. And he hadn't said that for a long time. So it's a source of comfort, but also he didn't get to have his third act, and that's not fair."

"It was the news you never want to get, but you think someday you might," Morrison said when asked if news of his death surprised him. "Yes and no, I guess is the answer to that."

Morrison went on to call Perry "a larger-than-life person," saying he was "always the center of attention everywhere he went" due to his "goofy" and "funny" personality. "That's gone, but you still feel the echo of it everywhere," Morrison added.

“He felt like he was beating it,” Morrison said of Perry's journey with alcohol and drug addiction. “But you never beat it, and he knew that, too.”

<p> Gregg DeGuire/FilmMagic</p> Matthew Perry

Gregg DeGuire/FilmMagic

Matthew Perry

Related: Jennifer Aniston Encourages Fans to Continue to 'Celebrate' Matthew Perry's Legacy After His Death

“He had that kind of very fiery personality, and mine is not like that, as you can imagine,” Morrison continued while talking about their relationship.

“But we got along fine. I never tried to replace his dad … but I was there for him, and he knew it, and we were close," he added, mentioning Perry's biological dad John Bennett Perry.

Morrison's comments come after he urged people to donate to the Matthew Perry Foundation, the organization that Perry's loved ones established in November soon after his death.

"This is not the sort of thing I commonly do, this pitch. But this year is different. And tomorrow is Giving Tuesday. Do what you can; he would have been grateful," Morrison wrote in a post on X (formerly Twitter) in late November alongside a link to the foundation's website.

After Perry's death, his family released a statement to PEOPLE. "We are heartbroken by the tragic loss of our beloved son and brother," they said.

"Matthew brought so much joy to the world, both as an actor and a friend," the family added.

"You all meant so much to him and we appreciate the tremendous outpouring of love," they continued.

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Perry's death was revealed to be caused by acute effects of ketamine in an autopsy report obtained by PEOPLE in December. Drowning, coronary artery disease and buprenorphine effects (a medication used to treat opioid use disorder) were also listed as contributing factors in his death, which was ruled accidental.

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