Who is Mark Fleischman? Former Studio 54 owner plans assisted suicide to end his life

'I am taking a gentle way out. It is the easiest way out for me,' says the 82-year-old


                            Who is Mark Fleischman? Former Studio 54 owner plans assisted suicide to end his life
(L) Mark Fleischman at Dream Downtown on September 21, 2017 in New York City and a photo (R) shows people waiting outside of Studio 54 on on line for admission to the famous nightclub (Sylvain Gaboury/Patrick McMullan, Bettmann/Getty Images)
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WARNING: This article contains graphic imagery and content that some readers may find distressing. Discretion is advised.

Mark Fleischman, the owner of Manhattan’s Studio 54, whose ongoing illness since 2016 couldn't be diagnosed by the neurologists, is choosing to end his life by assisted suicide on July 13. He plans to use the Swiss non-profit assisted suicide group, Dignitas, which helps in assisting suicides with a lethal dose of barbiturates after a lengthy screening process.

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In a conversation with New York Post, the 82-year-old said, “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." Mark who plans to fly to Zürich, Switzerland, on July 8 and take a lethal dose of barbiturates on July 13, added, "I came to the decision slowly. Two years ago, I decided that it wasn’t worth living. I took a lot of Xanax and ended up in the hospital." The ER doctors managed to save his life but he, later, discovered an easy way to die by suicide. "I read a book about ending life. I read in there that the easiest way is to suffocate. But I did not want the pain. I was going to buy a gun. But my wife interceded. We started looking into a place where it would be legal to find someone to do it with.”

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His wife, Mimi Fleischman, described that how neurologists have been unable to diagnose the illness which has restricted him to a wheelchair. Sharing her feelings about her husband's decision, she told NY Post, “It’s going to be horrible,” It is the end of a part of me as well. I have to honor what he wants. He wants to end his life and this is a dignified way to do it...As he prepares to go through the Pearly Gates, he can change his mind — but I don’t think he will.”

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Talking about the process, Mark said, “After reading my material, they asked me some questions to make sure I was serious. I had to provide a notarized affidavit, stating that I want to die. I had to go to a psychiatrist and he confirmed that I am of sound mind. I provided all that and they said they want me over there.” The organization will provide him with the dose and a place in which to consume it. He continued by saying that “Then, they take care of the body. They will cremate me and forward the ashes to Mimi in California. The whole thing costs around $15,000.”

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How does Dignitas process the legal suicide?

Dignitas, which started in 1998, helps individuals to die by suicide when their health is failing. In order to have an accompanied suicide at Dignitas, a person has to be a member of the Dignitas group, be of sound judgement and possess a minimum level of physical mobility. The person must have a disease which will lead to death or an unendurable incapacitating disability or unbearable and uncontrollable pain. The service is only available in Switzerland. Since 1942, the country has allowed assisted suicide as long as the motive is not selfish.

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Who is Mark Fleischman?

Mark, who has no biological children, took over Studio 54 in December 1978 when partners Steve Rubell and Ian Schrager were charged with tax evasion, obstruction of justice, and conspiracy. The charges went upto $2.5M in unreported income from the club’s receipts. Rubell and Schrager were sentenced to three and half years in prison in 1980 and fined $20K each for the tax-evasion charge. Later, Studio 54 was sold in November of that year for $4.75M to Mark, who reopened it, then sold it in 1984 to new owners. The club finally got shut in 1986. Mark also published a book, 'Inside Studio 54,' sharing his insight about the nightclub where celebrities shared lines of cocaine generating hundred-dollar bills. 

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