After more than two months of investigation, rumor and innuendo, fans may learn more on Friday about the circumstances surrounding INXS singer Michael Hutchence's death last November.
Susan Porter, clerk of the court for Glebe Coroners Court, said on Tuesday that New South Wales, Australia, coroner Derek Hand -- who is investigating the death -- may make a statement about his findings as early as Friday. "It is a private matter for the family," Porter said. "So normally, this information isn't released to the public, but the coroner might make a statement, because of the media attention surrounding this case." Porter added that Hand rarely makes public statements regarding his cases.
Hutchence's body was found hanging naked from a leather belt in his Sydney, Australia, hotel room on the morning of Nov. 22. Authorities had previously said results of an autopsy might be released in early January, only to push that date back to Feb. 6 three weeks ago. Scott Willis, a spokesperson for the media unit of the New South Wales Police, said on Tuesday that police are still investigating the case and that he wasn't aware of any new evidence that would contradict initial reports that Hutchence's death was the result of hanging, with no foul-play suspected. Willis said it was up to Hand to rule whether Hutchence's death was by misadventure or accident.
The police have not yet received the results of toxicology tests on the contents of Hutchence's stomach or on several bottles of pills found in his hotel room, according to Willis. While it is known that the widely used prescription anti-depressant drug Prozac was found in the room, there were reportedly three other bottles of unidentified medications on the scene as well.
Both Hutchence's bandmates and longtime manager, Martha Troup, have been at a loss to explain why the charismatic singer, who was working on a solo album and about to launch a 20th anniversary tour with INXS, may have chosen to take his life.
Troup previously said that she thought that the singer had been under a great deal of stress following months of tense battles with Sir Bob Geldof, the ex-husband of Hutchence's lover, Paula Yates, and the former leader of new-wave punk group the Boomtown Rats. The apparent suicide came just three days before INXS were to embark on the anniversary, "Lose Your Head" tour of their native Australia.
Producer and former Gang of Four guitarist Andy Gill, who spent more than nine months working with Hutchence on his still-unreleased solo debut, said recently that the situation with Geldof was one of the only things that got Hutchence down. "He would go on about it, and to him it felt like Geldof still treated Paula like she was his property," Gill said.
Saying he was "very surprised" when he heard of Hutchence's unexpected death, Gill explained that he had spoken to Hutchence a week before he got the news. "He was in good spirits," he said. "I'd been out with him shortly before he left for the U.S. and he was looking forward to Paula and the kids coming out to Australia."
Hutchence is believed to have argued with Geldof early in the morning of his death about Geldof's alleged last-minute attempts to block Yates' travel with the three children Geldof had fathered with her. Hutchence was said to be close to the children.
Geldof has refused to comment on his relationship with Yates or his dealings with Hutchence, telling London's Daily Express only that "[Hutchence] called up in the early hours of the morning (of Hutchence's death), and I couldn't understand a word he said. I just put the phone down."
Hutchence also had expressed enthusiasm about some upcoming meetings in Los Angeles with film producers, Gill said, adding that the singer appeared to be "starting to let himself believe that things were going to work out all right in terms of the relationship [with Yates] and that they'd be allowed to get on with their lives." -- Gil Kaufman [Wed., Feb. 4, 1998, 6:30 p.m. PST]