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Comedian Michael Lehrer dies by assisted suicide aged 44

Comedian Michael Lehrer dies by assisted suicide aged 44

The comedian had been diagnosed with ALS

Comedian Michael Lehrer has died by assisted suicide at the age of 44 after being diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

Lehrer was known for being a performer with Chicago's improv theatre troupe The Second City, as well as making regular appearances on the comedy podcast Kill Tony, which has also featured Joe Rogan.

The comedian received his ALS diagnosis in 2017, but continued performing and entertaining audiences with jokes and monologues about his life with the neurodegenerative disease.

Lehrer continued performing following his diagnosis.

ALS is currently incurable and worsens over time, affecting the nerve cells responsible for controlling voluntary muscle movement.

On Tuesday (17 January), Lehrer died after choosing to end his life with the assistance of a doctor under Oregon's Death with Dignity Act.

Explaining his decision, Lehrer's partner and caregiver Colette Montague said: “Michael died with dignity on his own terms... Medical aid in dying was the hardest decision he ever made.”

Lehrer had graduated from Columbia College before going on to co-write and star in three revues at the Second City e.t.c. theater alongside castmates such as Saturday Night Live's Aidy Bryant and Space Force's Tawny Newsome.

Lehrer was a former Second City performer.
The Second City/Facebook

The theatre troupe paid tribute to Lehrer following his death with a statement on Facebook which acknowledged how he 'bravely and hilariously pivoted his comedic persona to directly confront his struggles and foibles with the devastating disease'.

"The Second City sends its condolences to Michael’s family – in particular, his son Colin and his girlfriend Colette," the troupe added.

Rogan is also among those paying tribute to Lehrer, as he pointed out the 'courage' the comedian had to perform while battling a debilitating disease.

He described his ability to continue as 'insanely impressive', adding: "though he struggled to get words out the man would KILL onstage.

"He was a real legend, and I’m going to miss him very much," Rogan said.

Joe Rogan described Lehrer as a 'legend'.

Lehrer is survived by Montague; his brother Jon Lehrer; his sister Jennifer Lehrer Pitt; his father, Mike Lehrer, and his stepmother, Karen Smith-Lehrer.

He is also survived by his son, Colin, for who Montague has set up a GoFundMe page.

The page, which has so far received more than $23,000 (£18,500) in donations, explains that Lehrer 'wanted his son, Colin to be ok financially when he left this world'.

It continues: "Please help honor Michael and show him how much we loved him by making sure his son can be secure for a while.

"He made us laugh like we never knew we could, at things we never knew we could laugh at. Let's come together as a community and fulfill Michael's last wish as best we can."

Lehrer is said to have made arrangements to donate 'his beautiful, creative, complicated brain for research to help others' in the wake of his death.

Featured Image Credit: @dtotheq /Instagram @michael_lehrer_als /Instagram

Topics: US News, Celebrity, Health