The singer was only 45 years old when he passed away on November 24, 1991.
Freddie Mercury was the iconic lead vocalist of the rock band Queen, along with Roger Taylor, Brian May, and Mike Grose. The band gave us evergreen hits like Bohemian Rhapsody, Somebody to Love, and We Are the Champions, among other tunes that will live on forever. With the songs, Mercury's legacy will live on as well.
The singer was only 45 years old when he passed away on November 24, 1991. Mercury was diagnosed with HIV and had announced the diagnosis just a day before his passing. He had tried to keep the diagnosis private for almost a decade before he made it public. It has been 30 years since the legendary singer passed away.
In a statement, he said: "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 in order to protect the privacy of those around me. However, the time has now come 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." In the months leading up to his death, he was said to have looked frail and gaunt. Which was completely contrary to his onstage persona that could command the attention of crowds with nearly 72,000 people.
His battle with HIV/AIDS was a long and painful one. But he had his longtime friend and ex-lover Mary Austin and his then partner, Jim Hutton, Irish-born hairdresser, by his side. Hutton was also diagnosed with HIV in 1990 and lived to 60, dying from lung cancer. In his autobiography titled Mercury and Me, he said that the singer had stopped taking all medication apart from painkillers two weeks before his death. He even noted that Mercury's bedroom had turned into a "mini hospital." He witnessed the superstar vanish before his eyes.
"I knew that the end was very near," he wrote. "That night, I took special care of him. He dozed, and I lay next to him on top of the bed. He only had to elbow me gently, and I'd be awake if he wanted anything. When dawn broke, I was already wide awake, quietly watching television. Freddie was still asleep, cuddled inside my arm and holding on to my hand." He went on to write: "Every so often he'd softly squeeze it. 'Do you love me?' he'd asked when he woke. More than ever, he wanted to hear how much he was treasured. 'Yes, I love you,' I whispered and kissed him on the forehead." According to Hutton, he woke up on the 24th and said what would be his last words: "Pee, pee." On the way to the bathroom, Mercury collapsed after what seemed to be breaking bones. After he was escorted back to bed, he slipped into a deep sleep.
Later that evening, Hutton was helping his partner into fresh clothes when he passed away. "As I was changing Freddie into a clean T-shirt and pair of boxer shorts, I felt him try to raise his left leg to help a little," he recalled it was the last thing he did. "I looked down at him, knowing he was dead."
As for Austin, they had split up a long time ago but had remained close friends. Mercury had famously said of Austin: "I'll love her until I draw my last breath." She was his first love, and after his death, he had left her everything. "I'd rather it happened the other way round," she said of his death. "I should have gone first - I'd rather he miss me than I miss him. I lost somebody who I thought was my eternal love. When he died, I felt we'd had a marriage. We'd lived our vows. We'd done it for better for worse, for richer for poorer. In sickness and in health." She had continued to look after him during his last days. She still lives at One Garden Lodge, West Kensington, which was his last home.