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Monday, December 15, 1997 Published at 16:44 GMT

World: Asia-Pacific

INXS warning over drugs, alcohol mix
image: [ Tim Farris, second left, with the rest of INXS during the interview ]
Tim Farris, second left, with the rest of INXS during the interview

Hear the group's interview in Real Audio
Michael Hutchence's INXS colleagues have spoken out against mixing drink and drugs.

In their first interview since the singer's death, band member Tim Farris raised doubts that Hutchence meant to kill himself.

[ image: Hutchence: one of life's risk-takers]
Hutchence: one of life's risk-takers
Farris, his brother Andrew, and the other band members pay an emotional tribute to Hutchence in the interview for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC).

They admit they are still struggling to accept his death.

"Perhaps it's just denial, but there's a part of me that refuses to believe it," Tim Farris said. "I can't be angry at Michael because if he did take his own life, I feel he was sick."

The 37-year-old Australian superstar was found hanged by a leather belt in a Sydney hotel suite in which pills, including the anti-depressant Prozac and an antibiotic called Keflex, were found along with empty alcohol bottles.

A coroner's inquest found that Hutchence hanged himself on November 22 but the report did not say whether he took his own life. More detailed conclusions have yet to be released.

Tim Farris raised the issue of prescription drugs such as anti-depressants, which he described as "a grey area", and warned that people should treat them with respect.

Asked if he thought that the drugs had played a role in Michael Hutchence's death, he said he did not know but revealed fears that they may have done.

"I know there's been a lot of recent things like anti-depressants and alcohol mixed together and I think the world's got to take a deeper look at it," he said.

Andrew Farris also revealed concerns about Hutchence's state of mind and said he thought it was clear he had trouble with depression.

He also talked about Hutchence's love of life and his risk-taking, saying: "He would flirt with everything and everybody ... danger was just one of them."

"There's a lot of people in the music business who paint a portrait of themselves as being dangerous - 'living on the edge' type personalities that dress in a dangerous fashion and all that sort of stuff.

"But they're all actors or actresses. Michael was real."

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