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1997: Michael Hutchence found dead in hotel

VIDEO : Rock star in Sydney for start of 20th anniversary tour

Michael Hutchence, the Australian rock star and front man of INXS, the country's most successful band, has been found dead in an hotel room in Sydney.

The 37-year-old's body was discovered in a room in the Ritz-Carlton Hotel just after midday, Australian time.

Michael Hutchence was preparing for INXS's 20th anniversary tour. He and the band's members are still major celebrities in Australia.

Police have told a news conference at the hotel that a leather belt was found inside the room, but they said there were no suspicious circumstances.

Last night Michael Hutchence had dinner with his parents, who have been informed of his death.

Members of INXS were waiting for him in a studio when they learned the news.

Media interest

Michael Hutchence is the partner of the British television presenter Paula Yates, who is the mother of his 15-month-old daughter Heavenly Hiraani Tiger Lily.

The couple's three-year relationship has drawn huge media interest in Britain and they had planned to get married on the Tahitian island of Bora Bora in January.

Her lawyer, Anthony Burton, told reporters that she has been told of Michael Hutchence's death and will fly to Australia this evening.

He said: "Paula heard this devastating news. I would ask that she be left alone with her children and friends to enable her to absorb and cope with what has happened."

Michael Hutchence had a string of girlfriends, including pop star Kylie Minogue and model Helena Christensen, before he met Paula Yates.

Paula Yates was married to Sir Bob Geldof, the key figure behind Live Aid, the rock charity concert for Africa, which raised millions of pounds for starving people in Ethiopia.

Bob Geldof and Paula Yates have three daughters - Fifi Trixibelle, Peaches and Pixie - and separated in acrimonious circumstances.

INXS formed in the late 1970s in Perth and they found international fame in 1988 with their breakthrough album Kick, which sold nine million copies and gave them the hit singles Never Tear Us Apart, Need You Tonight and New Sensation.

But like many rock acts from the 1980s, INXS's popularity and record sales had fallen in recent years.

In Context
Post mortem examinations showed that Michael Hutchence died from suffocation caused by hanging.

A coroner in Australia recorded the death as suicide caused by depression.

It later emerged that his naked body was found hanging from the door of his hotel room.

The coroner said that Michael Hutchence's depression was brought on by the custody battle being fought out by Paula Yates and Bob Geldof over their three daughters.

But Paula Yates maintained Michael Hutchence would never have killed himself and believed he died attempting auto erotic asphyxiation, in which choking to the point of unconsciousness heightens sexual pleasure.

In 1998 Bob Geldof won custody of his three daughters from Yates and that combined with Hutchence's death led her into a severe state of depression.

Two years later Paula Yates was found dead at her home in London; a coroner said an accidental heroin overdose was the cause of death.

Up until Michael Hutchence's death INXS had made ten albums and they have had worldwide sales of more than thirty million albums.

The band has continued to perform and record with a number of different lead singers, including Terence Trent D'Arby.


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