Woman’s Day (Australia)
‘He was murdered’
This year marks 20 years since the world lost INXS star Michael Hutchence. But instead of closure, the looming anniversary has just made his brother Rhett even more determined to finally get to the truth about his death.
Rhett has launched his own personal quest to find out how Michael really died, and what happened to the huge fortune that should have gone to his daughter Tiger Lily, 20, but seemingly disappeared without a trace.
“Only three things could have happened that day,” Rhett posted on social media in January, tears flowing as he wrote, on what would have been Michael’s 57th birthday.
“Michael may have committed suicide, Michael may have passed due to lack of oxygen due to sexual misadventure, or adventure, or Michael was killed.
“In the last 19 years, looking, searching, meeting, talking to people, I have found all three things could be plausible, but still don’t have a solid answer, if you asked me.”
A maid found Michael’s body at 11.50am on Saturday, November 22, 1997, at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Sydney’s Double Bay, when she forced the door to his room open and the belt he hanged himself with snapped.
Michael’s partner Paula Yates vehemently rejected suicide, insisting he died of sexual misadventure after revealing they often played sex games. Paula herself died of a heroin overdose in 2000. Only two people have spoken publicly about what happened in the hours before his death, Coroner Derrick Hand, and Michael’s former girlfriend, actress Kym Wilson, who along with her boyfriend Andrew Rayment, was with Michael in his room before his death. “So who would I like to speak to?” asks Rhett. “People who were there that night, people who were around him… associates, and of course, INXS, his other brothers, who for whatever reason, have kept their distance from me. “I saw Kym the night after Michael passed, she told me some truth, and she told me some lies. I understood her lies at first, she needed them, to distance herself from the truth, but I’m sorry, I would have thought after 20 years she may now be willing to sit down with me… but she does not want to talk to me.” Kym, who quit acting after Michael’s death, says she is still haunted by it, claiming it was “too painful” to talk to Rhett. He still hopes Andrew Rayment, now a Sydney lawyer, will speak to him to shed some light on what happened. There is no suggestion either was ever suspected of foul play. The Coroner found the cause of death was “hanging” and blamed a cocktail
‘Kym told me some truth, and she told me some lies’
of drugs including Prozac, alcohol and cocaine, found in the singer’s system.
It was later revealed Michael had attempted to buy cocaine in the hours before his death, and had phoned his agent and said “I’ve had enough” during the night.
Former detective inspector Michael Gerondis believes Michael killed himself because he was unable to see Tiger Lily, who he’d hoped would come to Australia for Christmas with Paula.
At the time Paula was involved in a custody dispute with her ex-husband, Bob Geldof, who was refusing to allow her to take their three girls and Tiger Lily overseas. The hearing was adjourned the night Michael died.
A guest in the next room said she heard shouting at 5.45am – an argument between Michael and Bob, who later said Michael was “hectoring, abusive and threatening.”
Rhett, who lives in Bali with his partner Vera, has now sent a dozen messages around the world hoping to get to the truth about what happened that “dreadful morning”. “I am not going to stop this quest until I’m satisfied, and it’s taking me all over our crazy planet to look.”
Rhett is focusing his energy on trying to find out why Michael died or was murdered, adding after years investigating what happened to his brother’s $40 million fortune he has all but given up on ever recovering the money.
“Everything he worked hard for was stolen, probably starting from the moment the tragic news hit – a theft that still continues to this day.”
Tiger Lily, who lives quietly with Bob and his partner outside London, is understood to have received little from the estate, but has inherited her dad’s artistic talent for music and acting. Support is available for anyone who may be distressed by calling Lifeline on 13 11 14.