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Thursday, November 27, 1997 Published at 10:13 GMT


Celebrities and fans share Hutchence family grief
image: [ Choirboys file past the coffin of Australian rock star Michael Hutchence ]
Choirboys file past the coffin of Australian rock star Michael Hutchence

Michael Hutchence's family and friends shared their grief with rock stars and ordinary fans at the singer's funeral in Australia.

The INXS singer was found hanged in his room at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Sydney at the weekend.

He had arrived in Australia three days earlier for the start of INXS's 20th anniversary tour.

Hutchence was reportedly upset by a custody battle between his partner, Paula Yates, and her former husband Sir Bob Geldof, which prevented her from joining him.

But is not yet clear whether he took his own life.

[ image: Michael Hutchence...found hanged]
Michael Hutchence...found hanged
Ms Yates did not go ahead with her promise to wear the wedding dress she had hoped to don in January for her marriage to Hutchence.

She had said she would dye it black for the funeral but instead she wore a sleeveless, knee-length, white-floral-patterned black dress.

The British television presenter carried their daughter, 16-month-old daughter Heavenly Hiraani Tiger Lily, from the limousine into St Andrew's Cathedral in Sydney, where 200 guests came to pay their respects.

During the hour-long service, which was broadcast live on Australian television and relayed to fans outside the church, Ms Yates sat in the front row of the congregation with her daughter on her lap, sobbing, and being comforted by a friend.
[ image: Paula Yates arrives for the funeral]
Paula Yates arrives for the funeral

There was a powerful showbusiness contingent at the service.

Along with Hutchence's colleagues in the Australian rock band INXS were Tom Jones, Diana Ross, Nick Cave and Kylie Minogue, one of his former girlfriends.

The 37-year-old singer's coffin, draped with 500 blue irises and a single yellow Tiger Lily - denoting his daughter - was laid in the cathedral's nave as relatives and friends read eulogies to the star.

Richard Wilkins, a music journalist, said Hutchence had been a "star in every sense of the word".

He said: "He loved life and we loved his life...we admired his talent, we respected his dignity and we envied his cool.

"Michael lived life to the max. For the fans it was never about headlines, it was only ever about music and we loved his music.

"We loved his lyrics, his melodies - we even loved those guitar solos."

Andy Farriss, a founding member of INXS, said: "His lyrics had the soul and depth which have touched millions of people."

Fighting back the tears, he said: "Michael was one of the greatest singers and performers of his generation."

[ image: Michael Hutchence's brother Rhett, with sister Tina]
Michael Hutchence's brother Rhett, with sister Tina
The star's elder brother Rhett also overcame emotion to urge people to "live a little better" for having known him and his sister, Tina Schorr, gave thanks for her "sensitive and deeply loving" brother.

Nick Cave, a cult Australian singer who flew out to the funeral from his London home, asked for the cameras to be turned off as he sang one of his own songs, Into My Arms, for his friend.

The funeral service, concluded with another of Hutchence's songs, Never Tear Us Apart, after which his body was removed for cremation at a private ceremony on the northern side of Sydney Harbour.

Voice of Michael Hutchence's brother, Rhett, at his funeral
The Very Reverend Boak Jobbins, Dean of Sydney, at Michael Hutchence's funeral

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Internet Links

Background information on Hutchence

Michael Hutchence tribute site

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