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James St James and Michael Alig (right), all dressed up

Michael Alig is finally free (and tweets a selfie)

The infamous New York club kid has just been released from prison after spending 17 years behind bars

Notorious party monster and NYC club kid Michael Alig has just been set free after spending 17 years in prison for the murder of drug dealer Angel Melendez on March 17,1996. Alig's first act of freedom? To tweet a selfie, obviously:

Alig was greeted by a group of friends and supporters upon his release. DJ Scotto, a fellow ex-club kid, posted this picture of Alig and himself on Instagram with the words: "He is freee!"

Alig's blue button-down shirt and sensible wire-rimmed glasses are a far cry from the outré outfits he donned as the undisputed icon of New York nightlife. But it's understandable – after all, 17 years is a long time.

Alig reigned supreme over Manhattan clubland during its glorious heyday in the 80s and early 90s, outraging suburban America and delighting chatshow hosts (including one ecstatic Joan Rivers, who described Alig's gang of club kids as "the cutest things I've seen on the show"). 

Here's Alig and his gang on the Joan Rivers Show. Alig's the one in the orange body paint:

For Alig, the dream spiralled into a nightmare as he became increasingly addicted to a variety of drugs. As his addictions worsened, Alig and his friend Robert "Freeze" Riggs murdered Angel Melendez, a drug dealer, over an alleged debt. Alig then dismembered the body and then threw the remnants into the Hudson River. Several months later, a torso was pulled off the waters of Staten Island, which police identified as Melendez's. 

Alig pleaded guilty to manslaughter and was eventually sentenced to ten to 20 years in prison. His exploits were documented in a 2003 feature film starring Macaulay Culkin, Party Monster, which reintroduced the club kid to a whole new generation. 

While Alig has been eligible for parole since 2006, it has been denied to him until now. He's been quite literally counting down the days to his release on Twitter. (In case you're wondering how he tweets from prison, BTW, he writes down tweets so the editor of his memoirs can do it for him.) 

It's not known what Alig will do with his newfound freedom. Steve Lewis, who worked with Alig at the iconic Limelight club and has remained one of his staunchest supporters, told Paper magazine that Alig is keen on working for a charity. 

"He wants to do charity work, prove to the world that he's worth having around," he said. "He deserves a second chance. We should accept the fact that Michael the murderer is not the same person."

Maybe it's time for the quintessential club kid's final reinvention? We can only hope.