Second City alum Michael Lehrer Cause of Death
Second City alum Michael Lehrer dead at 44 following ALS battle
Second City alum Michael Lehrer Cause of Death.
Michael Lehrer, a Second City alum who spoke openly about his struggles with ALS, died Tuesday following a lengthy battle with the disease. He was 44 years old.
The comic passed away on Tuesday in Portland, Oregon, after opting to end his life with the assistance of a doctor, Lehrer’s life partner caregiver Colette Montague confirmed in a statement, per the Chicago Sun-Times.
“Michael died with dignity on his own terms,” the comic’s bereaved soulmate said. “Medical aid in dying was the hardest decision he ever made.”
A fixture of Chicago’s comedy scene, Lehrer got his start in comedy after getting selected for the 2014 Just for Laughs Festival. The aspiring humor writer and performer would go on to co-star and co-write three original sketch revues for famed Windy City improv group the Second City, where his co-stars included future comedy greats Aidy Bryant (“Saturday Night Live”) and Chris Witaske (“Chicago Party Aunt”). One of his sketches, entitled “Sky’s The Limit (Weather Permitting),” won a Jeff Award for Best Revue in 2011.
The Columbia grad also toured with Second City’s Las Vegas branch the Second City Touring Company and with Second City at sea on Norwegian Cruise Line.
Disaster struck in 2017 after Lehrer was diagnosed with ALS, the debilitating neurodegenerative disease. However, the courageous funnyman refused to allow his condition to derail his comedy career, and conversely even incorporated it into brave and candid standup routines, which he performed from his wheelchair at various clubs in Austin, Texas.
”I have ALS,” went one of his most iconic openers. “One question: Where the f- -k did all that ice bucket money go?”
Lehrer also spoke openly about his condition on the “Kill Tony,” a live comedy podcast hosted by legendary roast comic Tony Hinchcliffe. He appeared on the show nearly 100 times between 2019 and 2022, often appearing alongside the likes of comedy icons Ron White and Joe Rogan.
The comedy world was crestfallen over Lehrer’s loss. “Michael Lehrer accomplished and created what has never been done before, and may never be again,” read a Twitter tribute on the official “Kill Tony” Twitter account. “We will feel his absence, but we are left with inspiration for what the human spirit can do. We were all very lucky to have him. We love you forever Michael.”
Comedian and podcaster Joe Rogan also penned a heartfelt tribute to the fallen star 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 wrote. “He was a real legend, and I’m going to miss him very much.”
Along with Montague, Lehrer is survived by his son, Colin Heaton, his father, and his two siblings, as well as legions of adoring friends and fans.