11:12 AM PDT, May 3, 2021
Michael Alig, the notorious “Club Kid Killer,” died of an accidental overdose from fentanyl and heroin in December 2020, the Office of Chief Medical Examiner in New York City confirmed to Page Six and TMZ on Monday.
Alig, 54, was found dead on Christmas Eve from a suspected heroin overdose, reports at the time said. He was found just before midnight by his ex-boyfriend. Detectives discovered zip-lock plastic bags, apparently containing heroin, from his Manhattan apartment, as well as drug paraphernalia, officials said at the time, according to Page Six.
Alig rose to popularity in New York City by transforming the Manhattan nightlife scene at the parties he threw inside clubs like Limelight, Club USA, Tunnel and Palladium.
“When Michael [Alig] started, he was reckless and bratty and fun,” Village Voice columnist Michael Musto told Inside Edition Digital in 2017. “I liked his charisma, I liked his club parties and I liked the way he liked to shake up the bourgeoisie and the banality and get attention for himself — though that eventually led to a spiraling.”
He was at the helm of New York City’s most prolific set of partygoers, The Club Kids. They appeared on talk shows, wore wild costumes and threw drug-fueled, over-the-top parties at various boundary-pushing Manhattan hotspots.
“Michael had charm,” Musto said. “He was very brilliant, he had charisma, he was fun to hang out with but he had that dark side. The club kept hiring him. I kept going to his parties. We all sort of enabled it in some way.”
But in 1996, he and his roommate Robert “Freeze” Riggs killed their drug dealer, Andre “Angel” Melendez. Alig would later cut up Melendez’s body, put it in a box and throw it into the Hudson River. He’d also talk openly about the killing in an effort, he later said, to put the burden on someone else.
On Oct. 1, 1997, Alig and Riggs pleaded guilty to manslaughter and were sentenced to 10 to 20 years each. In 2014, Alig left prison and tried to sort his life out.
In March 1996, 25-year-old Melendez went to the apartment Alig shared with Riggs to settle a financial dispute, according to investigators. When he and Alig got into an altercation, Riggs hit Melendez in the head with a hammer. Alig then used a sweater to suffocate him.
Alig and Riggs said they killed Melendez in self-defense.
The roommates stashed Melendez’s body in the bathtub and poured cleaning products over it.
They used “whatever our drug-addled minds thought would cover up any scent or odor,” Alig admitted to Inside Edition Digital.
“We didn’t know what we were doing and making snap decisions — none of them good,” Alig said in 2017.
Alig said he did not blamed drugs for what happened.
“I was sober when I decided to take drugs and I have to take responsibility for everything that happens while I was on them,” he said. “We were not in our right minds. We were just making bad choice after bad choice and making the problem worse when we were trying to make it better.”
After covering the body with Draino and baking soda, they left the scene.
In the week they spent away from their apartment, Alig said that he and Riggs tried to kill themselves by taking as many drugs as they could.
“I said, ‘I am going to do more heroin until I get to a point where I either can take care of this or die,’” Alig recalled. “We were just so wrecked with pain and guilt and misery.”
They eventually returned to their apartment. Alig said that he and Riggs had hoped they would find Melendez either awake or no longer there.
“Honestly, we were hoping that we would go to bed and wake up the next day and it would be a dream,” Alig said.
The pair then went on to dispose of the body. After his conviction, Riggs remained in prison in upstate New York until 2010, when he was released for good behavior. Alig remained behind bars until 2014. He spent five years of his sentence in solitary confinement.
As part of their parole, they were not allowed to communicate with Melendez’s family.
“If [Melendez’s family] wanted to contact me, I would be very open to anything they would want to contact me about because this isn’t really about me, it’s about them,” Alig told Inside Edition in 2017.