Celebrity News

Michael Hutchence – His life in pictures

Born in Sydney in 1960, Michael met his bandmates —, Garry Beers, Kirk Pengilly, and brothers Andrew, Jon and Tim Farriss — at high school in the late seventies. They formed the band The Farriss Brothers, which would ultimately become INXS.

Leader singer Michael became the main spokesperson for the band, and gained a reputation as a confident, sexy frontman, although his close friends and family always maintained he was much more introverted than his on-stage persona.

INXS hit the world music stage 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.

Following several successful albums, Michael starred in the Australian movie Dogs in Space directed by INXS music video collaborator, Richard Lowenstein.

Richard later described Michael as “the kid that played air guitar in front of the mirror … the sex machine rock star all the girls loved … a guy that encompassed the feminine and the masculine sides of sexuality in one cat-like package.”

In 1989 Michael started a relationship with Kylie Minogue — then a fresh faced 21-year-old singer who’d only recently left the set of Neighbours to launch her music career. Michael joked at the time that his favourite hobby was “corrupting Kylie” and he wrote the INXS song Suicide Blonde in reference to her.

In the early nineties Michael teamed up with supermodel Helena Christensen. The high-profile couple attracted a lot of media attention and were often photographed out and about. They lived together for a number of years before going their separate ways.

In 1993 Michael was involved in a fight with a Danish taxi driver. A blow to the head caused him to lose his sense of smell and taste.

Michael met Paula Yates in 1995 when she interviewed him on British TV show The Big Breakfast. Paula soon split from her husband Bob Geldof, sparking a bitter custody battle over the couple’s three children Fifi Trixibelle, Peaches Honeyblossom and Little Pixie.

In 1996 Paula gave birth to Michael’s only child, Heavenly Hiraani Tigerlily Hutchence. Michael described his daughter as “just what we ordered”.

Just 16 months after his daughter’s birth, Michael was found dead in his room at the Ritz-Carlton in Sydney. He was 37 years old. The New South Wales Coroner initially determined that his death was a suicide, but has since conceded that Michael may have died from autoerotic asphyxiation (self-strangulation during a sex act).

At his funeral, Michael’s coffin was carried out of St. Andrews Cathedral by his younger brother Rhett and the remaining members of INXS as Never Tear Us Apart was played in the background. The song is now regarded by many fans as his anthem.

Paula Yates (pictured here with their daughter Tigerlily at Michael’s funeral) died of a heroin overdose just three years later in September 2000.

Michael’s former girlfriend Kym Wilson was the last person to see him alive. In Woman’s Day’s exclusive interview with Kym, she finally sets the record straight on the rumours surrounding her connection with his death. (Issue on-sale November 12).

Related stories