Sinister attack left Michael Hutchence with brain damage and drove him to grave

INXS frontman Michael Hutchence suffered personality-altering brain damage in a shocking attack by a taxi driver five years before his death.

The Australian singer was found hanged in his Sydney hotel room in 1997 aged just 37 amid rumours he'd fallen victim to a sex game gone wrong.

It was later found to have been suicide.

A new documentary film called Mystify: Michael Hutchence is shining a light on the tragic rock star's life, and reveals he never bounced back from a street attack in Copenhagen.

In the film, Hutchence's then-girlfriend, supermodel Helena Christensen, explains the rocker was brutally attached during a night out and suffered devastating brain damage.

She says: "We were riding home on our bikes and we stopped to get pizza.

"He was… in the middle of a tiny, narrow road and was eating his pizza.

"This insane taxi driver yelled at Michael to move. He got out of his car and punched him.

"Michael fell backwards and hit [his head on] the kerb. He was unconscious and there was blood coming out of his mouth and ear. I thought he was dead."

After waking up in hospital, he became aggressive and insisted on leaving immediately.

Doctors let him go, thinking he was drunk – but he'd actually suffered terrible injuries to his brain.

After spending weeks refusing to be treated, he was eventually seen by a neurologist in France, who discovered a fissure in his skull and severed olfactory nerves.

The damage meant he would never regain his sense of taste or smell.

It also changed his personality, leaving him volatile, moody and prone to bouts of depression.

The attack and the injuries he sustained were kept secret and the full extent of Michael's brain damage wasn't known until after his death.

A post-mortem examination was included in the film, which was directed by longtime INXS collaborator Richard Lowenstein, and revealed the injuries were much worse than previously thought.

Lowenstein explained to Australia's ABC Radio's Stop Everything: "I don't think anyone had seen that unedited coroner's report before, but that was a revelation," he says.

"[They] rang up in the middle of the night saying: 'It's very obvious what happened. This is a perfect storm of suicide risk, what's here in the report.'"

He added that even some of the bandmembers had no idea what Michael had been struggling with for so many years: "I think it was incredibly emotional finding that out, especially for the band members.

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