It's hard to say which is a more ignominious death: auto-erotic
asphyxiation or suicide. There has been a lot of speculation about
what happened to Michael Kelland John Hutchence on November 22,
1997. The coroner ruled it a suicide. His family argues that it
was suicide. His girlfriend, Paula Yates (now also deceased)
stubbornly insisted that he would never have intentionally killed
himself and left behind their daughter Heavenly Hiraani Tigerlily.
And rumors persist that it was a masturbatory adventure gone horribly
wrong. Either way, the fact is that the only person who will ever really
know Mr. Hutchence's motives for hanging himself in the Ritz Carlton
Hotel (now known as the Stamford Plaza Double Bay) in Sydney,
Australia has been dead for almost five years.
Michael Hutchence was born January 22, 1960 to Kelland and Patricia
Hutchence, at Mater Misericordiae Hospital in Sydney, Australia.
When he was four years old, his family (which by that time included a
younger brother, Rhett, as well as an older half-sister, Tina) moved
to Hong Kong, where his father had gotten a job with a large
Australian trading company.
As a boy, Michael was a member of the Boy Scouts and an avid
swimmer. He won many races and medals, until he broke his right arm
near the elbow. That was the end of his swimming career. As his arm
healed, he developed an interest in poetry and music. His singing
career had already begun when, at the age of eight, a Hong Kong toy
company hired him to sing on a tape that became part of a toy.
In 1972, the Hutchence family returned to the Sydney area. It was
there, at Killarney Heights High School, that Michael met Andrew
Farriss, who became a good friend and recruited him to join a band
that he had started with his brothers. Not surprisingly, the band was
called The Farriss Brothers. Soon they were playing at small clubs
in Sydney. After they graduated from high school, Michael and Andrew
devoted more and more time to the band, playing larger gigs and
writing their own songs (music by Andrew, lyrics by Michael).
Eventually they drove across Australia in an old station wagon to
spend some time in Perth with the Farriss brothers' parents. They
played a lot of gigs in skanky mining towns. When they had finished
conquering the Perth scene, they moved on to Melbourne where they
were very successful. From Melbourne they returned to Sydney, where they signed a recording contract and began playing large auditoriums
instead of small clubs. The band changed its name to INXS, and set
out to become as much of a success in Europe and the United States as
they had been in Australia.
Along the way, Michael dated a lot of hotties, including
Kylie Minogue and Helena Christensen. He was a charismatic, sexy
performer, despite the fact that his bandmates described him as
At the time of Hutchence's death, he and Paula Yates were involved in
an ongoing dispute with Sir Robert Geldof over the
custody of Geldolf and Yates' three daughters. Alcohol,
cocaine, Prozac and other prescription drugs were found in his
blood during the autopsy.
In 1999, a posthumous eponymous solo album was released. The
track listing was as follows:
- Let Me Show You
- Get on the Inside
- All I'm Saying
- A Straight Line
- Baby It's Alright
- Don't Save Me From Myself
- She Flirts for England
- Flesh and Blood
- Put the Pieces Back Together
- Slide Away
Discography (with INXS)