Death of Hutchence deemed likely suicide

Preliminary investigation by police into the death of Michael Hutchence in Sydney, Australia, has determined the lead singer of the Atlantic Records act INXS committed suicide by hanging himself. An autopsy to determine the exact cause of death will be performed today.

Police are also investigating whether use of prescription drugs by Hutchence may have played a role in the weekend suicide. Several types of medication were found in Hutchence’s fifth floor hotel room.

“Detectives have taken into possession a leather belt for scientific examination,” said Inspector Chris Hogg of the Sydney Police Dept. “It would appear there are no suspicious circumstances about the death.”

The body of the 37 year-old Hutchence was discovered in his room around noon Saturday by an employee of the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Sydney where the singer was staying.

The members of INXS were in Australia to kick off the band’s 20th anniversary tour, dubbed “Lose Your Head,” which was set to begin Tuesday. The roadshow has been canceled.

Hutchence arrived at the hotel earlier in the week and his body was discovered when he failed to show up for an appointment Saturday to appear on a TV show to promote the band’s upcoming performances.

The band had released more than 10 albums for Atlantic domestically and Mercury/Polygram internationally, beginning with “Full Moon, Dirty Hearts” through this year’s “Elegantly Wasted,” INXS’ first studio album after a nearly a four- year hiatus from recording.

“Elegantly Wasted” dropped off the album sales charts in less than two months following its release earlier this year.

But the band was perhaps best known for such successful discs as “Listen Like Thieves” and 1987’s “Kick”; the latter has sold nearly 10 million copies worldwide.

INXS’ brand of dance-meets-rock spawned such singles such hits as “What You Need” and “Need You Tonight.” Both tracks remain radio staples.

Hutchence was spotted two weeks ago at the Viper Room in West Hollywood with his fiancee Paula Yates, whom he had planned to marry in January. The couple has an 18-month old daughter.

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