Mark Fleischman, the former owner of the infamous New York City nightclub Studio 54, has reportedly died in Switzerland by assisted suicide, his former business partner confirmed. He was 82. Fleischman's family and friends said on Wednesday that he took his own life in a clinic in Switzerland.
After falling ill in 2016, Fleischman was unable to walk and his speech was hampered. His ailment remained undiagnosed by doctors despite Fleischman spending thousands of dollars. According to the New York Post, he had previously admitted to spending $15,000 to book a first-class, one-way ticket to Zurich, the location of the renowned Dignitas suicide clinic.
Death by Choice
Fleischman had said last month that he plans to end his life by suicide and he would do that in July. It is not known when he reached Zurich, Switzerland but his assisted suicide was almost decided.
Finally, he took his life at the Dignitas clinic on Wednesday. Daniel Fitzgerald, who co-owned the Century Club in Los Angeles with Fleischman in the 1990s and 2000s, told BBC News: "I guess he was in more pain than we knew."
"I thought maybe we could convince him not to [go]," he said. "We had a really nice party for him and a lot of his friends came, and everyone thought, 'he's going to postpone it a month and we'll see what we can do'. But he was set on doing it."
Fleischman told the New York Post last month that he had problems speaking, was unable to dress or put on his own shoes, and needed assistance from his wife Mimi to get in and out of bed.
"I can't walk, my speech is fâked up, and I can't do anything for myself," he told The Post last month.
"My wife helps me get into bed and I can't dress or put on my shoes. I am taking a gentle way out. It is the easiest way out for me."
By Wednesday afternoon, his wife, Mimi, posted: "Mark passed to his next adventure this morning. He was very brave, and the nurses said he had an unusually peaceful transition."
"I am happy he is free," she wrote, "but will desperately miss my best friend, constant companion, adviser, supporter and mainly love. I am so grateful for our time together."
Assisted dying is legal in Switzerland, and the Dignitas clinic has been open since 2002.
End of An Illustrious Journey
Fleischman ran Studio 54 when it was one of the biggest clubs on the planet. The club was known for hosting guests like the Rolling Stones, Robin Williams, Rick James and John Belushi.
After its former owners and cofounders, Steve Rubell and Ian Schrager, were imprisoned for tax cheating, Fleischman purchased the club in 1980 and controlled it for six years.
Some time back, Fleischman recalled engaging in a lot of drug use at that time, going out in threes, and having a good time drinking with celebrities while serving on the so-called "Dawn Patrol."
"I liked to be high. So I would do drugs and drink. Possibly, this [health condition] is because I drank a lot and did drugs," he told The New York Post.
Another notable feature of Studio 24 was its stage act, which featured a crescent moon sniffing cocaine from a spoon while open drug use and sex were the norm of the day.
When Drew Barrymore was nine years old, her mother took her to Studio 54, where she was encouraged to use drugs and dance with male superstars.
Fleischman worked for Dignitas, a charity that assists people in committing suicide when their health is failing. Dignitas was founded in 1998. Members of Dignitas looked over his medical documents and spoke with him.