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Freddie Mercury (born Farrokh Bulsara; Gujarati: 5 September 1946 – 24 November 1991) was a British musician, singer, and songwriter, best known as the lead vocalist and lyricist of the rock band Queen.
In October 1986, the British press was already reporting that Mercury had had his blood tested for HIV/AIDS at a Harley Street clinic. A reporter for The Sun, Hugh Whittow, questioned Mercury about the story at Heathrow Airport as he was returning from a trip to Japan. Mercury denied he had a sexually transmitted disease.
Freddie is seriously ill".
However, Mercury and his inner circle of colleagues and friends, whom he felt he could trust, continually denied the stories, even after one front page article published on 29 April 1991, which showed Mercury appearing very haggard in what was by then a rare public appearance. Brian May confirmed in a 1993 interview that Mercury had informed the band of his illness much earlier. Filmed in May 1991, the music video for "These Are the Days of Our Lives" features a very thin Mercury, which are his final scenes in front of the camera.
After the conclusion of his work with Queen in June 1991, Mercury retired to his home in Kensington. His former partner, Mary Austin, had been a particular comfort in his final years, and in the last few weeks of his life made regular visits to his home to look after him. Near the end of his life, Mercury was starting to lose his sight, and his deterioration was so overpowering he could not get out of bed. Due to his worsening condition, Mercury decided to hasten his death by refusing to take his medication, and just continued taking pain killers.
Following the enormous conjecture in the press over the last two weeks, I wish to confirm that I have been tested HIV positive and have AIDS. I felt it correct to keep this information private to date to protect the privacy of those around me. However, the time has come now for my friends and fans around the world to know the truth and I hope that everyone will join with me, my doctors, and all those worldwide in the fight against this terrible disease. My privacy has always been very special to me and I am famous for my lack of interviews. Please understand this policy will continue. ”
On the evening of 24 November 1991, a little over 24 hours after issuing that statement, Mercury died at the age of 45 at his home in Kensington.The official cause of death was bronchial pneumonia resulting from AIDS.The news of his death had reached newspaper and television crews by the early hours of 25 November.
On 27 November, Mercury's funeral service was conducted by a Zoroastrian priest. An intensely private man, Mercury's service was for 35 of his close friends and family, with the remaining members of Queen and Elton John among those in attendance.
Mercury was cremated at Kensal Green Cemetery, West London. In accordance with Mercury's wishes, Mary Austin took possession of his ashes and buried them in an undisclosed location. The whereabouts of his ashes are believed to be known only to Mary Austin, who has stated that she will never reveal where she buried them.
In his will, Mercury left the vast majority of his wealth, including his home and recording royalties, to Mary Austin, and the remainder to his parents and sister. He further left £500,000 to his chef Joe Fanelli, £500,000 to his personal assistant Peter Freestone, £100,000 to his driver Terry Giddings, and £500,000 to Jim Hutton.Mary Austin continues to live at Mercury's home, Garden Lodge, Kensington, with her family.Hutton was involved in a 2000 biography of Mercury, Freddie Mercury, the Untold Story, and also gave an interview for The Times for what would have been Mercury's 60th birthday.