TORONTO — If J.D. Fortune wasn't kicked out of INXS before, it appears as though he is now.
The Canadian singer recently told "Entertainment Tonight Canada" that his bandmates unceremoniously dumped him at a Hong Kong airport after a 23-month tour, leaving him to live out of a truck.
But INXS creative director Chris Murphy has now disputed Fortune's story.
"Not only are we shocked by the claims, even the place the supposed incident was to have taken place is a mystery to the band," Murphy told the Daily Telegraph.
Fortune shot to stardom when he won the television reality contest "Rock Star: INXS" in 2005 and became the new frontman for the Aussie rock group. A song he wrote on the show entitled "Pretty Vegas" became a popular single off the band's subsequent album, "Switch."
Murphy told the Daily Telegraph that the other band members - Andrew Farris, Jon Farris, Tim Farris, Kirk Pengilly and Garry Gary Beers - hadn't decided for certain whether Fortune would return to the group.
"The band have always stated to me that Fortune's services could potentially be contracted again when INXS next tour," he said. "In fact he was next on my list to call regarding a very big recording project I am putting together for INXS at present.
"I guess I have no reason to call him now."
It's not the first time Fortune has been down on his luck.
The singer, who spent much of his childhood in New Glasgow, N.S., made headlines when he auditioned for "Rock Star," saying that he'd recently been sleeping in his car and panhandling to raise cash to feed his dog.
Just before he was crowned the winner, Fortune said his time on "Rock Star" had helped him turn his life around.
"(This show) has changed me in a really profound way," he told The Canadian Press in 2005. "There is something to be said for being pushed to your limit all the time. You become really focused."
But last week, in the ET Canada interview, Fortune admitted to heavy cocaine use while on tour, which may have played a role in his ouster.
Toronto's Lukas Rossi won the second instalment of the show, earning the right to sing for Supernova, a group that included Jason Newsted, Tommy Lee and Gilby Clarke and promptly disbanded after their tour.
Rossi voiced his support for Fortune in a blog post, inviting him to stay at his place in California.
"He devoted his life to helping a washed-up band try and revive themselves by choosing a young talented singer . . . I must say it is not easy to go from nothing to superstardom in a few months," Rossi wrote.
"I also went through substance abuse and almost lost everything. If not for the amazing fans and my loving wife I would be no longer."
According to his website, Fortune is still planning on releasing a solo record titled "The Death of a Motivational Speaker."
INXS had a string of hits in the 1980s and '90s, including "Need You Tonight," "Devil Inside" and "Never Tear Us Apart." In 1997, the band's charismatic lead singer, Michael Hutchence, hanged himself in a hotel room.
Since then the group has had a series of lead singers, including Terence Trent D'Arby and Jon Stevens.
The Canadian Press: INXS creative director strikes back at Canadian former frontman J.D. Fortune
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