"[Perry] got so much better, always made everyone laugh," Manasse said, adding, "He was competitive, not in a bad way at all. He loved it. When he hit an unbelievable shot, he would tell you about it for days."
Manasse also described Perry as a caring person who was always trying to help others, especially recovering addicts by introducing them to pickleball at Riviera.
TMZ broke the story ... Perry, 54, apparently drowned in his jacuzzi Saturday after playing 2 hours of pickleball at the country club. We're told he was in good spirits during the game.
Later that afternoon, his assistant returned to his house after running errands and discovered Perry was unresponsive. The assistant called 911, Perry's mother and one of his siblings, as well as another person.
Law enforcement tells us ... authorities discovered anti-depressants, anti-anxiety drugs and a COPD drug inside Perry's house. COPD refers to Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, which is often used to treat emphysema or chronic bronchitis. Perry smoked cigarettes during his life.