Michael Alig was released from prison in 2014, nearly two decades after being convicted of murder

By Ally Mauch
December 26, 2020 04:00 PM
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Michael Alig in 1989
| Credit: Catherine McGann/Getty Images

Michael Alig, the infamous leader of the 1990s "Club Kids" who was later convicted of murdering his roommate and drug dealer, has died at the age of 54.

Alig was found dead in his Manhattan apartment on Christmas Day following an apparent overdose, according to a report from the New York Daily News on Friday. His ex-boyfriend, who found him, told police that Alig had been doing drugs and heroin was found in the apartment, the Daily News reported.

Alig first became known for cofounding the Club Kids, a group of eccentric partiers popular in NYC’s ’90s club scene for their outlandish outfits and behavior.

In 1997, he gained national attention when he and his friend Robert “Freeze” Riggs plead guilty to murdering and dismembering fellow club kid Andre “Angel” Melendez over a bad drug deal. The body sat in Alig’s bathtub for a week before they dumped the remains into the Hudson River.

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Credit: Rob Kim/Getty Images

In 2003, Alig’s story was turned into a feature film, Party Monster, starring Macaulay Culkin. The movie was based on Disco Bloodbath, a 1999 memoir from club kid James St. James that follows his friendship with Alig and how it ended as his drug problem worsened and his involvement in the murder unfolded.

Alig and Riggs were sentenced to 10 to 20 years in prison for the murder. Riggs was released in 2010 and Alig followed in 2014. Just after his release, he opened up to PEOPLE about the murder.

“I can’t remember every tiny little detail, because we were extremely high on drugs. I was on Special K and went into a k hole – your senses are shut off,” Alig said. “We were in another dimension. We felt like we needed to do something other than call the police or an ambulance and we didn’t know what that something was.”

At the time, he told PEOPLE he had been clean since 2009 and said he had no desire to reenter the nightlife scene. “I’m not going to be going out to nightclubs. I have a curfew from 8 p.m. to 7 a.m.,” he said. “I need to be a lot less self-indulgent in this half of my life.”

If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, please contact the SAMHSA substance abuse helpline at 1-800-662-HELP.