Michael Alig dead from suspected heroin overdose. The meteoric rise & downfall of Club Kid Killer who shook NYC nightlife while exposing its dark side.
The 54-year old former 90’s party fixture was discovered by an ex-boyfriend just before midnight in his Washington Heights apartment, authorities said.
Alig’s ex ‘was there and saw him unconscious and called 911,’ a police source said. ‘[Alig] was on his side.’
Detectives recovered several zip-lock plastic bags, apparently containing heroin, from the home, as well as drug paraphernalia, the nypost reports citing officials.
Alig’s death was the ultimate cautionary tale of excess, spectacle, debauchery, the dark side, striving for notoriety and club fame which for a dizzy moment saw Alig and his inside circle at the top of their game until the facade toppled and led to one of their iconic frontmen jailed for the death of a fellow club-goer.
A misfit leaves Indiana to arrive to NYC
Alig was known in his heyday as the self-proclaimed ‘King of the Club Kids,’ a group of outrageously dressed, drug-fueled hedonists staging the most sought-after nightclub parties in the late 1980s and early 1990s.
In a 2014 interview with the nypost with the Post, Alig told of growing up as gay in South Bend, Indiana, and not coming to his own until arriving in NYC in 1984.
Initially arriving to attend Fordham University — he met a fellow student who changed the course of his life.
The young man, the boyfriend of famed pop artist Keith Haring, took Alig to a party that his beau was throwing at the now-defunct Area club on Hudson Street.
Alig told of being hooked.
‘[I was] a misfit from the Midwest who came to New York City in search of acceptance, opportunity and a whole lot of fun,’ Alig recalled.
‘As a gay teen coming to terms with my sexuality, I was overwhelmed and exhilarated. It was liberating,’
‘Talk about being in the right place at the time,’ Alig continued. ‘While the rest of the country was entrenched in depressing Reaganomics and [the anti-drug campaign] ‘Just say no,’ downtown New York nightlife was having a moment.’
Alig dropped out of school and joined the circuit, donning garish makeup and outlandish outfits to host parties at the Tunnel, Limelight and other nightclubs heralding the NYC party scene.
He became part of the scene’s exclusive, trend-setting group known as the ‘Club Kids’ who were ‘paid merely to show up and bring a bit of fabulousness to the mix,’ Alig recalled.
But with the excess-fueled fame and fortune came the trappings.
Alig began ingesting heroin, cocaine, ecstasy and ketamine, liquor with a motley of who’s who in the scene. Except while they went home and back to their normal life, this was by now the only 24-7 round the clock life, that Alig came to know. It would eventually take a heavy toll.
In March 1996, Alig and another friend, Robert ‘Freeze’ Riggs, got into an argument with a small-time drug-peddling pal, Angel Melendez, while they were all on ketamine. Alig admitted to him and Riggs beating Melendez to death, then dismembering his body and tossing body parts into the Hudson River.
A hyper reality
The killers were eventually caught and convicted of the crime.
Alig said that he never intended to kill Melendez but was ‘in another reality’ when he murdered Melendez.
Alig & Riggs pled guilty to manslaughter in 1997 with Alig spending 14 years behind bars before being released in 2014. Riggs was freed in 2010.
The fallen promoter tried to go the straight and narrow after prison by continuing to hone a skill he picked up behind bars — painting.
But he continued to battle his seemingly ever-present demons, getting busted for possession of crystal meth near Yankee Stadium in 2017.
Alig also was homeless off and on — admitting in 2018 that he turned to the gay-hook-up site Grindr at one point when he ran out of money ‘just to have some place to sleep’ and at least once found himself camping out under a bridge.
When he came clean about his ongoing issues and was asked why it took him so long to admit to them, he said, ‘I didn’t really want to publicize it too much because I didn’t want it to end up on Page Six.
‘It would be embarrassing.’
Alig moved into the Upper Manhattan apartment about six months ago, neighbors said — and there was apparent trouble from nearly the start.
Finding moral virtue
‘I used to hear a lot of drama from his place —a lot of people screaming,’ next-door neighbor Elvis Miller, 27, told The Post on Friday. ‘Guys waiting eight hours outside his door, asking for him, asking for, ‘Michael.’
‘He was always, like, acting a little bit out of his mind, like his nervous system wasn’t OK,’ said Miller, who moved into the building four months ago. ‘He was stumbling, always rushing, always anxious.
‘The last time I saw him, a guy was knocking and asking for him. Recently.’
Reflected Alig upon his release from jail, ‘Have I paid my debt to society? Legally, I have,’
While adding, ‘But morally and ethically, I mean, nothing short of, you know, them killing me, I don’t think anything is going to ever really balance out the scales of karma.’