INXS lead singer Michael Hutchence was found dead in a Sydney,
Australia hotel room shortly before noon local time on Saturday,
Nov. 22. After Hutchence failed to appear for a morning
appointment with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, a Ritz
Carlton employee entered and found the body hanging in the room.
Local authorities removed a leather belt and several
prescription drugs from the scene, and although the Australian
Associated Press is reporting it as an apparent suicide, the
official cause of death has yet to be determined.
At 4 p.m. EST on Saturday, Triple M Broadcasting in Sydney
reported that Hutchence spoke with a friend earlier that morning.
The friend told detectives that they had made plans to meet later
that day, and that the singer “didn’t sound like he had any
intention of taking his life.”
Rock music commentator Ian “Molly” Meldrum, in a statement to
the Associated Press, noted that when he last saw Hutchence eight
weeks ago, the singer didn’t seem overly troubled. “I’ve never seen
Michael more peaceful and happier in his life,” he said.
As of 6 p.m. EST, no suicide note had been found. An autopsy is
scheduled for Monday.
Hutchence, who lived in London, had arrived in Sydney to make
final preparations for the INXS 20th anniversary “Lose Your Head”
tour scheduled to kick off Tuesday in Wollongong.
Concert promoter Michael Gudinski announced that the tour, which
was to have been the group’s first in Australia in more than three
years, has been canceled.
INXS formed in Perth in 1977 and released four well-received
albums on an independent label. The band’s major label debut,
Listen Like Thieves (1985) was their first real commercial
breakthrough, peaking at No. 11 on U.S. charts largely on the
strength of the single, “What You Need.”
The success of Listen Like Thieves served as an
appropriate prelude for INXS’s next album, Kick. Released
in 1987, Kick sold nine million copies and featured four
hit singles — “Need You Tonight,” “Devil Inside,” “New Sensation,”
and “Never Tear Us Apart.”
Although record sales had fallen off in the last few years,
Hutchence still retained celebrity status in Australia due in good
measure to his well-publicized romances with pop star Kylie
Minogue, model Helena Christensen and Paula Yates, ex-wife of rock
star and Live
Aid planner Bob Geldof. Hutchence and Yates have a daughter,
Heavenly Hiraani Tiger Lily.