A former business associate of Mark Fleischman, the owner of New York nightclub Studio 54 in the 1980s, has confirmed that he has died by assisted suicide in Switzerland.
When he took over the club in 1980, Mr. Fleischman, then 82, ran it until his death, in 1986.
In 2016, he fell ill and was unable to walk or do many of the tasks he used to be able to accomplish on his own, but physicians were unable to identify the cause of his illness.
On Wednesday, he committed suicide at the Dignitas clinic outside of Zurich.
One of Mr. Fleischman’s co-owners, Daniel Fitzgerald, tells BBC News that “I guess he was in more suffering than we thought.”
He had hoped that Mr. Mark Fleischman would postpone his trip to Switzerland, which Mr. Fitzgerald had organized a “living wage” for him last week.
In his words, “I thought maybe we could persuade him not to travel.” “We threw a great celebration for him, and everyone assumed, “He’s going to postpone it for a month and we’ll see what we can do.” That didn’t stop him, though.”
Switzerland has had the Dignitas clinic operating since 2002, and the practice is permitted under Swiss law.
Speaking to the New York Post last month, Mr. Fleischman revealed that his wife Mimi helped him get in and out of bed since he had problems speaking and couldn’t dress or put on his own shoes.
He explained his strategy by saying, “I am taking a nice way out. For me, it’s the quickest route out.
Famed celebrities such as Andy Warhol, Bianca Jagger, Liza Minnelli, and Elizabeth Taylor flocked to Studio 54’s famous dance floor when it opened in 1977.
Sadly, the two original co-owners were imprisoned for tax cheating in 1980, and the business was forced to close.
Mr. Fleischman took over and eventually wrote a book called Inside Studio 54 about his time in command.
When the club opened in 1981, “I was swept up in the world of celebrities, drugs, power, and sex,” he wrote in an essay.
My golden straw or $100 notes were used by celebrities and beautiful women every night as they made their way through the crowd into my office.
Then he added: “Host of the party: I was in charge, and I was in charge. Making ensuring that everyone had a nice time was my duty and responsibility. It was an exhilarating experience, one that I embraced entirely. It was a realm of mystery and intrigue.”
At Century Club, Mr. Fitzgerald said that he and Mr. Fleischman had “worked really well and had a lot of fun together” for many years.
“He’d be able to have a good time while also being quite intellectual, and he’d be great at figuring things out. I learned a lot from him. I learned a lot from him.”