Psychologist explains why we have such an emotional response to a celebrity dying

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By VT

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The untimely death of Matthew Perry, best known for his portrayal of Chandler Bing in the global sensation Friends, has sent shockwaves across the world. Fans are grappling with grief, disbelief, and sorrow.

Perry was discovered in a hot tub at his Los Angeles residence on September 28. NBC wrote in tribute upon hearing the tragic news: “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.”

As the news spread, the outpour of grief and tributes on social media was palpable. One particularly touching tribute on his last Instagram post read, “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.” Another fan commented, "We all lost a Friend today."

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Matthew Perry. Credit: Angela Weiss / Getty

Such profound grief over a celebrity's death may perplex some. But Tom Kersting, a mental health expert, sheds light on this universal emotional response.

Speaking with Reader's Digest, Kersting explains that celebrities, especially those we've grown up admiring, often imprint themselves on our minds, creating cherished memories. “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," Kersting states. "An actor’s death can bring back memories of a movie he or she did, triggering memories from that time in your own life.”

This connection, built through years of watching and appreciating their work, makes us feel like we have a personal relationship with these celebrities. So, when they depart, it feels like we've lost someone close, even if we've never met them.

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Credit: Mike Pont / Getty

For those wrestling with the weight of such a loss, Kersting offers guidance: focus on gratitude for the positive memories. Even if some may not comprehend the depth of your sorrow, it doesn't invalidate your emotions. Should the grief become too burdensome, seeking professional help is always an option.

As the world awaits further details on the cause of Perry's death, preliminary findings suggest no evidence of foul play. Regardless of the circumstances, one thing is clear: the void left by Perry's death is vast. His iconic wit, impeccable comedic timing, and unparalleled contribution to the entertainment industry have immortalized him in the history of television.

Featured image credit: David M. Benett / Getty

Psychologist explains why we have such an emotional response to a celebrity dying

vt-author-image

By VT

Article saved!Article saved!

The untimely death of Matthew Perry, best known for his portrayal of Chandler Bing in the global sensation Friends, has sent shockwaves across the world. Fans are grappling with grief, disbelief, and sorrow.

Perry was discovered in a hot tub at his Los Angeles residence on September 28. NBC wrote in tribute upon hearing the tragic news: “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.”

As the news spread, the outpour of grief and tributes on social media was palpable. One particularly touching tribute on his last Instagram post read, “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.” Another fan commented, "We all lost a Friend today."

size-full wp-image-1263234521
Matthew Perry. Credit: Angela Weiss / Getty

Such profound grief over a celebrity's death may perplex some. But Tom Kersting, a mental health expert, sheds light on this universal emotional response.

Speaking with Reader's Digest, Kersting explains that celebrities, especially those we've grown up admiring, often imprint themselves on our minds, creating cherished memories. “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," Kersting states. "An actor’s death can bring back memories of a movie he or she did, triggering memories from that time in your own life.”

This connection, built through years of watching and appreciating their work, makes us feel like we have a personal relationship with these celebrities. So, when they depart, it feels like we've lost someone close, even if we've never met them.

size-full wp-image-1263234498
Credit: Mike Pont / Getty

For those wrestling with the weight of such a loss, Kersting offers guidance: focus on gratitude for the positive memories. Even if some may not comprehend the depth of your sorrow, it doesn't invalidate your emotions. Should the grief become too burdensome, seeking professional help is always an option.

As the world awaits further details on the cause of Perry's death, preliminary findings suggest no evidence of foul play. Regardless of the circumstances, one thing is clear: the void left by Perry's death is vast. His iconic wit, impeccable comedic timing, and unparalleled contribution to the entertainment industry have immortalized him in the history of television.

Featured image credit: David M. Benett / Getty