INXS Leader Michael Hutchence's Final Hours

Hutchence leaves message on ex-girlfriend's answering machine: "I need to see you."

AUSTRALIA -- Although it's likely no one will ever know the exact sequence of events leading up to the death of INXS leader Michael Hutchence, who was found hanging from his leather belt last Saturday in his suite at Sydney, Australia's Ritz-Carlton, based on that country's media reports, Addicted to Noise police interviews and research, here is a chronology of Hutchence's final hours.

FRIDAY, Nov. 21 (local time):

Daytime -- Hutchence rehearses with INXS for the band's 20th anniversary tour. A crew from the Australian news show "A Current Affair" film the band for a segment on the tour. Frances Georgeson, national promotions manager for Mercury Records, who visited with Hutchence that night, said, "He was in great spirits. He was going out for dinner with his father, making jokes, looking forward to the tour."

7:45 p.m. -- Hutchence dines with his father, Kel, and step-mother at The Taste of India, a popular restaurant in Edgecliff, a five-minute drive from the Ritz-Carlton. The mood, according to restaurant manager Ashley Notani, was warm and relaxed. The singer nibbled at his dinner, chain-smoking throughout the meal, planting a kiss on Notani's lips and baring his belly when a staff member suggested he eat more. The restaurant's assistant manager, Susan Murtagh, told journalists that at one point in the evening, Hutchence's father placed his hand over his son's and asked if everything was all right. Conflicting reports suggest that Hutchence replied either by shrugging his shoulders, or said "Dad, I'm fine." The restaurant yesterday refused to take several bookings for the "Hutchence table."

10:30 p.m. -- Kel Hutchence takes Michael back to the Ritz-Carlton, where he had several drinks in the hotel bar.

11 p.m. -- Tanya Turnball, 29, of Sydney, and Tamara Brachmanis, 26, of Manly, share an elevator with Hutchence at the hotel, saying he seemed relaxed and happy. The pair see Hutchence again soon after, chatting with actress Kym Wilson and her boyfriend, Christopher Stollery. Hutchence leaves the bar alone, returning to his room. Staff at the hotel confirm that several calls for room service are made during the night.

Time Unknown -- Hutchence's girlfriend, Paula Yates, phones to say that, due to a delayed custody hearing, neither she nor the couple's daughter, Heavenly Hiraani Tiger Lily, will be able to join INXS in Australia for the 20th Anniversary tour. Yates said a furious Hutchence then phoned Yates' former husband, ex-Boomtown Rat Bob Geldof and, according to Britain's Sun newspaper, shouted: "She's not your wife anymore." "The last words [Yates] heard Michael say were, 'I love you. I'm going to phone Bob right now and beg him, beg him to allow them to come,' " according to British television journalist Martin Frizell.

SATURDAY, Nov. 22 (local time):

Midnight to dawn -- Police confirm that hotel staff deliver room service to Hutchence's fifth floor suite (524) on several occasions throughout the night. They refuse to comment if Hutchence was alone at these times or what he ordered. Staff tell police the singer seemed fine.

9 to 9:30 a.m. -- Police say Hutchence phones a former girlfriend, Michelle Bennett, in nearby Bellevue Hill around 9 a.m., leaving a message on her answering machine saying, "I need to see you." Bennett tells police that Hutchence's voice sounded "normal," neither distressed nor angry.

11 a.m. -- Bennett hears the message and goes to the hotel. There is no reply, so she slips a note under the door and leaves.

11:55 a.m. -- Hotel staff try to wake Hutchence by telephone. When this fails, a maid is sent up to his room. She uses a spare keycard to open the door but there is resistance, so she forces it and finds Hutchence there dead, hanging by his leather belt. A senior Rose Bay police investigator says it appears the singer could have been dead for two to three hours.

12:30 p.m. -- Police arrive at the scene, by which time news of the death has already started to leak to the media. Prescription drug bottles are found in the room. Scott Willis, senior constable with the New South Wales Police, said later when asked if toxology tests would be conducted on the contents of the bottles, "You can't do tests on empty bottles."

1 p.m. -- A police officer leaves the hotel and drives to the ABC studios in Gore Hill, where the members of INXS are waiting for Hutchence for a scheduled rehearsal. Guitarists Tim Farriss and Gary Beers are told that Hutchence is dead. John Farriss arrives soon afterward. At around the same time, Hutchence's father, Kel, and his wife, are told of the death and asked to identify the body. "What can I say?" the singer's father told a reporter. "I've lost my loving son."

2 p.m. -- Hutchence's death and the suspected cause -- hanging -- are reported on radio in Sydney.

3 p.m. -- The death is reported on television, but still not confirmed by police, family or the hotel.

3:30 p.m. -- Hutchence's girlfriend, Paula Yates, the mother of his only child, is contacted in England and informed of the death (approximately 3:30 a.m. in London).

4:20 p.m. -- Hutchence's body is removed from the hotel in a white police van.

MONDAY, Nov. 24 (local time):

Daytime -- New South Wales state coroner confirms that the cause of Hutchence's death was hanging. Death by suicide, however, is not yet confirmed, pending toxicology tests. Results of such tests could take several weeks to be completed and released.

THURSDAY, Nov. 27 (local time):

2:30 p.m. -- Hutchence's funeral set to take place at St. Andrew's Cathedral in George Street, Sydney. His body is to be cremated.

(ATN's Senior Writer Gil Kaufman contributed to this report)

[Wed., Nov. 26, 1997, 9 p.m. PDT]

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