After a courageous and lengthy five-year struggle with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), comedian Michael Lehrer sadly passed away at the age of 44 in Portland, Oregon.
Colette Montague, Lehrer’s girlfriend, revealed to the Chicago Sun-Times that he chose to end his life with the help of a physician.
“Michael died with dignity on his own terms,” Montague said. “He was not suicidal at all. … Medical aid in dying was the hardest decision he ever made.”
Despite being diagnosed with the neurological disorder in 2017, The Second City performer Lehrer kept pursuing his career. He took to the stage of Austin’s clubs in a wheelchair and courageously spoke about his health struggles both on-stage and during Kill Tony podcasting sessions. His story was featured by Deadline news outlet as an example of inspiring strength despite life obstacles.
In 2014, Lehrer had the honor of performing in the New Faces of Comedy show at Just for Laughs Comedy Festival in Montreal. He was part of The Second City with renowned comedians such as Chris Witaske and Tawny Newsome who paid tribute to him on social media following his death.
Lehrer made his mark on four fabulous sketch revues, with Sky’s The Limit (Weather Permitting) claiming the esteemed Jeff Award for Best Revue. He also took part in joining The Second City Touring Company and Las Vegas, as well as Norwegian Cruise Lines extensions of their brand.
He was an active figure in BTNs Big Ten Tailgate and Sports Action Team, as well as Chicago Underground Comedy, iO Chicago and the Brooklyn Brewery comedy tour.
Joe Rogan, a renowned podcaster, paid his respects to the late comedian by praising Lehrer for his sheer talent and relentless determination.
“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,” Rogan stated. “He was a real legend, and I’m going to miss him very much.”
Witaske voiced his sentiment that he would “always cherish the years” he was able to invest with Lehrer at Second City.
“Michael was truly unique, full of mischief and so f***in funny,” he stated. “He was always up for anything and loved nothing more than making people laugh.”
Finally, he concluded his remarks with ‘It’s truly safe to say that there will never be another Michael Lehrer. Rest in Peace, brother.’
The Kill Tony podcast stated, “We knew it was coming yet there are still no words for it. What a human. He truly lived to make you all laugh. Rest easy our dear @michael_lehrer_als.”
Lehrer’s Instagram account held a touching tribute that read: “The final act – watch for the sequel. Godspeed you wild and crazy man. We love you always, and are grateful for all you’ve given to the world.”
He is survived by his son Colin and girlfriend Colette.
A GoFundMe page was created to rally behind the comedian’s son. As stated on the fundraiser: “Please help honor Michael and show him how much we loved him by making sure his son can be secure for a while.”