INXS singer says broke, homeless after fired from band

SYDNEY (Reuters) - The lead singer of Australian rock band INXS, J.D. Fortune, who was picked to replace the late Michael Hutchence in a contest on a reality TV show, said he has been fired without warning from the band.

Singer J.D. Fortune performs with music group INXS during the "VH1 Big in '05" awards show at Sony Pictures studios in Culver City, California December 3, 2005. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

Fortune, 35, a Canadian rock singer, was living out of his car when he won the CBS network’s 2005 reality TV series “Rock Star:INXS.”

He became the frontman for the six-man band, taking the place of 37-year-old Hutchence who was found dead in a Sydney hotel room in November 1997 with a coroner ruling he had committed suicide.

With Fortune, INXS released the album “Switch” and went on a world tour in 2006 and 2007 to promote the album that featured the singles “Pretty Vegas” and “Afterglow.”

But Fortune told Entertainment Tonight Canada that INXS fired him literally with a handshake at an airport in Hong Kong, leaving the band without a frontman and with a new album on hold.

“I found myself really alone because I had travelled with these guys for 23 months,” Fortune told Entertainment Tonight Canada without saying exactly when he was sacked.

He acknowledged that he had been taking drugs including cocaine while with the band but said he had been drug free for two years.

Fortune said he was now back living out of his car and had spent all his remaining money on a solo album called “The Death of a Motivational Speaker.”

“From the street to the air back to the street again. It is only me,” he said.

A spokeswoman for INXS told the Australian media that she could not comment on Fortune’s sacking.

Writing by Belinda Goldsmith, Editing by Patricia Reaney