Former, New York club promoter Michael Alig, 54, has died of a suspected heroin overdose. His body was found Christmas morning in the Washington Heights, New York apartment in which he was living.
Alig found fame in the late 80s and early 90s as a party promoter in New York City. He was the most well-known face amongst a band of clubbers who earned a reputation for throwing outlandish and decadent parties. Alig appeared on The Joan River Show and Geraldo, among others, to talk about the ‘club kids’ scene.
However, the partying came to a crashing end in March 1996 when Alig and a friend, Robert ‘Freeze’ Riggs, whilst high on drugs, murdered DJ and fellow club kid, Andre “Angel” Melendez, following an argument about an alleged unpaid drug debt.
In Alig’s apartment, Melendez was struck with a hammer and smothered with a sweatshirt.
The two men kept Melendez’s body in the bathtub for several days, before eventually dismembering it, packing the remains in a box and pushing it into the Hudson River. Body parts later washed up near Staten Island.
Rumors that Alig was responsible for Melendez’s death quickly began to circulate in clubland, to the point that writer and Queerty contributor Michael Musto commented upon it (without naming Alig and Riggs) in his regular Village Voice column.
Alig and Riggs subsequently pleaded guilty to manslaughter, in exchange for plea deal sentences of 10-20 years each.
In 2003, Alig’s rise and fall were portrayed in the movie Party Monster, with Macaulay Culkin as Alig. The movie was based on the book Disco Bloodbath, by fellow club kid James St James. There have also been two documentaries about Alig: 1998’s Party Monster: The Shockumentary and 2015’s Glory Daze: The Life and Times of Michael Alig.
Alig was released in 2014 and finished his parole in 2017 (Riggs was paroled in 2010).
Besides hosting a regular YouTube show, Alig struggled to find work or get his life back on an even keel.
Although he attempted to throw the occasional party, the gay scene had moved on and many balked at the idea of attending a party thrown by a convicted killer.
Alig was arrested for smoking crystal meth in a park in 2017, but pleaded guilty and was released on conditional discharge. In 2018, Page Six reported Alig experienced bouts of homeless, sometimes resorting to Grindr hookups just to find somewhere to spend the night.
The New York Daily News was the first to report on his death. Alig’s boyfriend found him unconscious at around 3am and called paramedics. They attended but declared Alig dead at the scene. His boyfriend told authorities Alig had been using heroin, and cops also found bags of suspected heroin and other drug paraphernalia in the apartment.