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Mark Fleischman, owner of Studio 54, plans to end his life by assisted suicide on July 13 in Switzerland

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The 1980s had just begun when New York nightlife impresario Mark Fleischman took over the keys to a legendary club then in decline: Studio 54. Fleischman gave it a second life thanks to performances by rising stars like Madonna, Duran Duran or Culture Club and a group of regulars like Boy George, Janet Jackson, Alec Baldwin, Lionel Richie, Jean-Michel Basquiat, LaToya Jackson or Cyndi Lauper. For five years, until its final closure in 1986, Studio 54 shone again in the light of the disco ball, under which personalities such as Liza Minnelli, Elizabeth Taylor, Truman Capote and Andy Warhol had danced.

In the last statements to New York Post, The 82-year-old tycoon of the night has confessed his intention to end his life by assisted suicide on July 13 with the help of the organization Dignitas in Switzerland: “I can’t walk, I can hardly express myself well and I can’t do anything for myself do,” Fleischman said. “My wife helps me get into bed and I can’t get dressed or put my shoes on.”

Fleischman began developing mobility issues in 2016 when his left leg began to drag. First, the neurologists diagnosed him with Parkinson’s disease, but they still haven’t found the right diagnosis: “It was a slow decision,” said the businessman, “two years ago I decided that it wasn’t worth continuing to live. I took a dose of Xanax and ended up in the hospital.” At that time, the emergency doctors saved his life: “Then I read a book about ending life. I read that the easiest way is to suffocate. But I didn’t want the pain. I wanted to buy a gun but my wife intervened. We started looking for a place where this would be legal.”

Left to right actress Raquel Welch, businessman Steve Rubell and Mark Fleischman at Studio 54 in 1981.REP/PICTURES (Getty Images)

Dignitas is an organization specializing in euthanasia, founded in Switzerland in 1998. Under the motto “Live with dignity, die with dignity”, the clinic examined Fleischman’s specific case: “They want to be sure that I decide to do this myself,” he said, “after reading my medical material, they asked me a few questions to make sure i was serious. I had to make a notarized affidavit that I wanted to die. I had to see a psychiatrist and he confirmed that I am sane. I provided all of that and they said they wanted me there.”

If Fleischman was able to revitalize the club, it was because it was in a specific time and period: just after the invention of the birth control pill and before the health crisis caused by the AIDS virus. Studio 54 had the elegance and status bestowed on it by its famous patrons, but the dance floor was a democratic place: celebrities rubbed shoulders with anonymous people, gays and straights danced under the same lights, and drugs were rampant in every corner of the club. VIPs seeking privacy flocked to Fleischman’s office. There the businessman had to hire a young woman whose main job was to prepare the lines of cocaine: “There were so many people around my desk that 30 or 40 lines of cocaine were needed and they all had to be identical, this girl was for the preparation and responsible for serving champagne.” Studio 54 Teak: “I put my heart and soul into entertaining the world’s biggest stars with champagne and cocaine,” he wrote in his memoir.

If Fleischman was able to revitalize the club, it was because it was in a specific time and period: just after the invention of the birth control pill and before the health crisis caused by the AIDS virus. Studio 54 had the elegance and status bestowed on it by its famous patrons, but on the dance floor it was a democratic place: celebrities and anonymous people collided, gays and straights danced under the same lights, and drugs were rampant in every corner of the club. VIPs seeking privacy flocked to Fleischman’s office. There the businessman had to hire a young woman whose main job was to prepare the lines of cocaine: “There were so many people around my desk that 30 or 40 lines of cocaine were needed and they all had to be identical, this girl was in charge of them making and serving champagne.”

After Studio 54 closed, Fleischman went to the Betty Ford Detox Center at his wife’s request, but it didn’t help: “I ended up detoxing at Rancho La Puerta,” he explained in an interview for Paper magazine In 2017 “I was on top of this mountain that is considered a magical mountain. Shamans have been going there for millennia. And one way or another, I got high from this feeling of being completely healthy, fit, and able to climb that mountain.” Fleischman has returned to Rancho La Puerta more than 55 times, each time getting the high wanted to feel nature again: “Cheaper and better than drugs,” he explained, “it allowed me to live longer.”

Fleischman travels to Zurich with his wife Mimi Fleischman on July 8 in first class. They live in a villa with a view of a lake and perhaps use the fact that they haven’t visited the Swiss city for a bit of sightseeing: “Then we’ll go to Dignitas’ apartment on Wednesday. I’ll have a drink, go to sleep and that’s it.” Your wife will be by your side.


Source elpais.com

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