Beloved comedian Michael Lehrer dies by assisted suicide
Comedian Michael Lehrer has died by assisted suicide aged 44 following a diagnosis of Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) in 2017.
Lehrer was a beloved comedian, working at The Second City alongside other comedians such as Chris Witaske and Tawny Newsome, per the Daily Mail.
The 44-year-old was a popular figure in the comedic troupe, and went on to win the Jeff Award for Best Revue for Sky’s The Limit (Weather Permitting).
He was an integral part of the Second City touring company, as well as helping to extend the brand to Las Vegas and onboard Norwegian cruise liners.
The Second City is sad to report the passing of alum Michael Lehrer.
He helped create four original sketch revues for The Second City, including the Jeff Award winner for Best Revue, Sky’s The Limit (Weather Permitting).
Rest in peace Michael❤️ pic.twitter.com/rEt72cnCCH
— The Second City (@TheSecondCity) January 19, 2023
Lehrer was diagnosed with ALS in 2017 but continued to work with the comedy troupe, including performing in a wheelchair in Austin, Texas, Deadline reported.
Lehrer’s girlfriend, Colette Montague, revealed to the Chicago Sun-Times that he had chosen to end his life with the help of medical professionals.
He passed away on Tuesday (January 17) in Portland, Oregon. Montague told the outlet that choosing to die by assisted suicide was the hardest decision Lehrer had ever made, but that he died “with dignity on his own terms.”
Tributes have been pouring in for the loved comedian, including The Second City making a heartbreaking announcement about his death.
“Michael bravely and hilariously pivoted his comedic persona to directly confront his struggles and foibles with the devastating disease, regularly appearing on the wildly popular live comedic podcast, Kill Tony,” part of the statement read.
Famous podcast host Joe Rogan paid tribute on Instagram: “The courage this man had to do stand up while battling a debilitating disease was insanely impressive, and 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.”
Lehrer’s friend and fellow Second City comedian Chris Witaske said via Instagram: “I will always cherish the years I got to spend with this guy at Second City. Michael was truly unique, full of mischief and so fuckin funny. He was always up for anything and loved nothing more than making people laugh.
“I have so many great memories of doing insane improv for drunk tourists at 1am and laughing our asses off. Also always loved watching him spend time with his awesome son @colinheaton1.
“He had his own s**** and could be a d**** but he also had a huge heart that I got to see up close the more we became bros and even more when we reconnected this last year.”
Witaske concluded: “It’s truly safe to say that there will never be another Michael Lehrer. Rest in Peace, brother.”
Lehrer is survived by his son Colin and girlfriend Colette, with a GoFundMe page being set up in order to support them during this heartbreaking time.
Our thoughts go out to all of Lehrer’s family, friends, and fans.