Notorious Manhattan club promoter Michael Alig, who spent 17 years in prison for murdering and dismembering his drug dealer, died of an apparent heroin overdose Friday, officials said.
Alig, 54, was found dead inside his Washington Heights apartment on W. 159th St. by his ex-boyfriend just after midnight, officials said. The ex-boyfriend said Alig had been doing drugs, and heroin was found in the apartment, police sources said.
Cops sealed the apartment with a large green sticker over the door Friday, preventing anyone from coming inside as the investigation continued.
In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Alig ran a number of Manhattan clubs and was the ringleader of a group of club goers known as the “Club Kids,” who epitomized New York City club culture at the time.
He was a tabloid fixture, whether he was throwing parties in subway stations or introducing the city to ketamine, a now-common party drug.
In 1996, he pleaded guilty to the murder of his drug dealer, Andre (Angel) Melendez, and served 17 years in prison.
He got into an argument with Melendez which ended with a friend, Robert (Freeze) Riggs, bashing Melendez with a hammer.
The murderous duo later chopped up the corpse in the bathtub and dumped his body parts in the Hudson River.
Alig was an early suspect and went missing as police investigated the gruesome crime. But just months before he was charged with the crime he returned to New York and began throwing parties again, despite rumors circulating that he was a killer.
“I know you think I’m a murderer. Does that mean you won’t co-host my upcoming birthday party?” Alig asked Village Voice columnist Michael Musto in October 1996, Musto later said.
Alig and Riggs pleaded guilty in 1997 to manslaughter and each were sentenced to 10 to 20 years behind bars.
The infamous murder was the subject of a documentary, “Glory Daze: The Life and Times of Michael Alig” and the 2003 movie “Party Monster” starring Macaulay Culkin as Alig.
Alig took issue with the “Party Monster” movie, which showed him injecting Drano into Melendez’s dead body.
“We did pour Drano in the bathtub along with baking soda, but we did not inject him with any Drano – nothing like that,” he told 1010 Wins in a 2014 interview. “You know, it makes a huge difference. There are people that I know that would not speak to me for the whole time I was in (prison) because they thought that was true.”
Alig said that he never intended to kill Melendez but was “in another reality” when he murdered the drug dealer.
“Things didn’t seem as real as they do right now, and nobody meant to kill Angel,” he said. “We didn’t love him, but we also didn’t hate him. He just wasn’t a great friend. I mean, I’m just being honest.”
“Have I paid my debt to society? Legally, I have,” he said. “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.”
Alig’s troubles with the law didn’t end with his release from prison.
In February 2017, he was arrested for trespassing and smoking crystal meth in a park outside Bronx Supreme Court.
A cop caught him in the Bronx’s Joyce Kilmer Park at about 1:30 a.m., according to officials. Police found a bag of crystal meth and a pipe with residue from the drug in his jacket pocket.
Alig had kept a low profile since being released from prison. Neighbors in his Washington Heights apartment building didn’t know anything about his notorious past.
“I’ve heard of [the] club kid but, wow, I didn’t know,” said a woman named Oriana, who lived directly across from Alig’s apartment. “Wow, that really surprises me because he’s so nice.”
Despite her neighbor’s kind demeanor, Oriana knew he was into drugs based on one of their first interactions at the apartment.
“I asked him when he moved in if he needed anything and he’s like, ‘Do you know where I can find dope?’ And I was like, ‘I didn’t mean that,’” she recalled. “He was very open about it, at least to me.”
Oriana added that she let someone into the apartment building late Thursday night who then went into Alig’s apartment. She does not believe the man she let in was the ex-boyfriend who found Alig dead, who she is familiar with.
After she let the man in, about 20 minutes passed before an ambulance came — then Oriana heard a man crying in the apartment.
Friends and acquaintances posted on Facebook Friday mourning the loss of the man who led such a complicated life.
“More hatred and more death is not the answer. No one deserved to die and nothing is accomplished by celebrating more death. It’s all a tragedy,” wrote one woman on Alig’s Facebook page.
“Rest in peace both Michael and Angel. May the good not be completely overtaken by the bad, and may we all take heed from the lessons buried within and try to spread peace, love, and unity. Not hatred and anger. My love to all those affected on both sides.”
This story was first published HERE