INXS Fans React To Coroner's Report

Relief that Hutchence's death was ruled a suicide, and not a fatal act of auto-eroticism.

As word on Friday passed through the INXS fan community that singer Michael

Hutchence's death had been officially ruled a suicide involving the use of

drugs and alcohol, the band's longtime supporters began sharing their

reactions to the news. Many expressed a sense of closure that the

two-month investigation into Hutchence's passing had finally been laid to

rest. Others noted that simply understanding the precise cause of the

singer's death could not balance their continued sense of loss.

"I had really no doubt that the finding would be one of suicide," said

Darren Jones, webmaster for the "Always INXS" Internet site.

Coroner Derrick Hand issued a report on Friday morning in New South Wales,

Australia, confirming that Hutchence, 37, died as a result of suicide by

hanging on Nov. 22 [see "Distraught INXS Singer Hanged Himself After Taking

Drugs" in Friday's (Feb. 6) "Music News Of The World"]. Hand concluded that the

charismatic singer, "desperate" over an ongoing child-custody battle with

his lover's ex-husband, took his own life after ingesting a combination of

alcohol, cocaine and the anti-depressant Prozac. The report concluded that

there was no forensic evidence that Hutchence had died by auto-erotic

asphyxiation, in which one reaches orgasm by strangulation, as had been

speculated in some media reports.

As a fan, Jones said he attended Hutchence's funeral in Sydney, Australia, as well as a private

wake for the singer, and added that he had spoken to a number of people

close to Hutchence, including Kym Wilson, the actress with whom the INXS

leader had been drinking in the hours before his death.

"All this talk of auto-eroticism never really came to a full circle with

me, if you know what I mean. Kym was devastated and after speaking to her,

it answered a lot of my questions," Jones said.

Nanci Lamb Roider, administrator of an INXS Internet mailing list, said she

took odd comfort from the coroner's report. "The main thing is that he's

gone, and the circumstances aren't really that important to me," Roider

said. "However it is nice to know that Michael died as a result of some

sort of emotional or psychological pain, and not in a doomed attempt at

pleasure. I know this may sound odd, but I'd much rather that he died

purposely by his own hand and not because of some error on his part."

With the state's book on Hutchence's suicide now officially closed, many

fans have returned to their memories of the singer and the pop and soul

music that INXS created for two decades.

"I will always be able to see Michael the way I enjoyed him, and I will

always be able to hear his voice," said Kylie Glynn, who runs the "My INXS"

website. "INXS stirred things inside me with their music. They made me

sway to their wonderful ballads and dance to their awesome rock 'n' roll.

It's those that really knew him that I feel closure will be the hardest.

No longer will they be able to hear his voice over the phone or be able to

sit down for a chat."

While the coroner's report noted the content of several telephone calls and

the testimony of those close to Hutchence as evidence that the singer was

in a "severe depressed state" over a custody battle involving his lover,

Paula Yates, and her ex-husband, former Boomtown Rats leader Bob Geldof,

several fans expressed reservation at that finding.

"I'm very wary of any physical exam that presumes to reveal emotional

issues," Roider said. "I don't doubt that they can determine it was

suicide, I just doubt that they can declare a motive."

As Glynn put it, "I don't believe we'll ever really know all the

reasons why Michael decided to leave us." [Fri., Feb. 6, 1998, 9 a.m. PST]