Studio 54 founder Mark Fleischman's wife Mimi reveals icon's FINAL WORDS

The wife of the former owner of NYC nightclub Studio 54 revealed her husband found religion just before dying at a Swiss suicide clinic on July 13


                            Studio 54 founder Mark Fleischman's wife Mimi reveals icon's FINAL WORDS
Mimi Fleischman was with her husband Mark as he ended his life in Switzerland (Vince Bucci/Getty Images and video screenshot/The New York Post)
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Late Mark Fleischman, 82, the king of 1980s nightlife and the former owner of the nightclub Studio 54, spent $15,000 booking a first-class, one-way flight to Zurich, home of the famed Dignitas suicide clinic. After two years of battling an illness that doctors haven't been able to diagnose - but which he claims left him unable to move unaided - Fleischman drank a lethal dose of barbiturates to end his life.

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“I can’t walk, my speech is f–ked up and I can’t do anything for myself. 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", Fleischman told The New York Post in June when he was confined to his wheelchair. Fleischman's wife of 27 years, Mimi Fleischman, told the Post it was a surreal experience as he took the sodium pentothal. ''We looked at each other like, 'This is crazy in a way.' My feeling was, 'Wow. I can't believe this is happening,''' she said.

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Fleischman's wife stated that while her husband never wavered in his desire to commit assisted suicide, she did notice changes in him near the end. ''Mark used to not believe in God at all. He was a complete Atheist,' she said. 'He started to believe in God during the last few weeks. I believe in God…''. ''Mark came to believe that there is life after death. He made a change in his belief system about the continuation of existence,'' she added. Fleischman kept a hand on her husband's knee as he drank chocolate and a sweet drink to wash down the bitter drug.

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''Then, a minute later, he looked around and said, "I don't feel anything." I think it was a throwback to his drug-taking days. Three or four minutes later, he was asleep." Mimi mentioned that the change of faith in Fleischman did not change his heart regarding his death. "There was always the option that he would change his mind; but in reality, it was the opposite,'' Mimi said. ''But by the time we got on the plane to Zurich, he was adamant. He made a decision and this was what he wanted to do, even as friends read about Mark and asked him not to do it. But Mark wanted to die on his own terms''. Mimi Fleischman said they traveled to Switzerland last Sunday, July 11 to head to Dignitas, saying they ''had a little fun'' and enjoyed a movie en route to his suicide.

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''It didn't feel like we were going to the end of the world, which, literally, we were,'' she said. Once in Switzerland, the process involved ensuring that Fleischman was acting of his own volition. ''Yes,'' he said, choosing to stay in his wheelchair. ''I am ready to drink this.'' Mimi remained at the side of her husband of 27 years as he fell asleep for good.

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“I stayed for another hour, to be with him,” she said. “I had all the mixed feelings. There was happiness for him that he could do it and that I could support him. I touched Mark. I realized that I am not going to touch him again. These were the last touches.” Mimi finally left for a hotel near the airport, expecting to fly home one day later. Fleischman's body will be cremated in Switzerland and forwarded to her in California. Recalling her final moments with Mark, she said: “I didn’t cry. I was overwhelmed and relieved that he is free.”

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If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please contact the National Suicide Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).