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Killer 'Party Monster' Michael Alig Found Dead in NYC Apartment

Alig
Alig appearing on Geraldo in 1990

The infamous gay party promoter murdered Angel Melendez in 1996.

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Michael Alig, the New York "party monster" who served 17 years in prison for murder, reportedly died of a heroin overdose in his Manhattan apartment on Friday night. Alig was 54.

Alig was discovered shortly after midnight in his Washington Heights home by his ex-boyfriend, the New York Daily News reports.

Thirty years ago, the Indiana-born Alig was the ringleader of the "Club Kids," a group of flamboyant -- and often queer -- New Yorkers who threw and attended drug-fueled parties and raves. The Club Kids' creative outfits and rampant drug use generated national media interest in the early '90s. The notoriety affected an already unstable Alig and his drug use and disconnect from reality intensified. During an argument over drug debts in his apartment in March 1996, Alig and his roommate, Robert Riggs, murdered their acquaintance and dealer Angel Melendez.

Alig and Riggs dismembered Melendez's body and, days later, dumped it in the Hudson River. Later, children playing in the water near Staten Island found a box with Melendez's legless torso inside.

After months of indifference from police, and prodding from nightclub figures like journalist Michael Musto, investigators began turning their attention toward Alig and Riggs. In 1997 the men both pleaded guilty to manslaughter and were sentenced to 10 to 20 years in prison.

The rise and fall of Alig and the Club Kids was chronicled in the films Disco Bloodbath and Party Monster; the latter movie starred Macaulay Culkin as Alig.

Alig served 17 years for Melendez's murder and was released in 2014. According to reports, Alig continued to do drugs while in prison and upon his release. He was arrested in 2017 for trespassing and crystal methamphetamine possession while in a Bronx park.

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Neal Broverman

Neal Broverman is the Editorial Director, Print of Pride Media, publishers of The Advocate, Out, Out Traveler, and Plus, spending more than 20 years in journalism. He indulges his interest in transportation and urban planning with regular contributions to Los Angeles magazine, and his work has also appeared in the Los Angeles Times and USA Today. He lives in the City of Angels with his husband, children, and their chiweenie.
Neal Broverman is the Editorial Director, Print of Pride Media, publishers of The Advocate, Out, Out Traveler, and Plus, spending more than 20 years in journalism. He indulges his interest in transportation and urban planning with regular contributions to Los Angeles magazine, and his work has also appeared in the Los Angeles Times and USA Today. He lives in the City of Angels with his husband, children, and their chiweenie.