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]