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8 February 2024, 12:39
Queen's lead guitarist revealed the emotional moment occurred at Freddie's beloved home, Garden Lodge.
His bandmates Brian May and Roger Taylor, spoke of the microscope Mercury was living under at the time, and what it was like visiting the star when his home was surrounded by 'hundreds of vultures' – members of the press.
Speaking of the lead-up to Freddie's death, Brian said that it was sometime before Freddie Mercury told him that he had been diagnosed with AIDS – at the time a killer illness.
"There were all these rumours and he was obviously suffering and we didn’t know what it was, and rumour, rumour, rumour..." Brian said during an excerpt from the 2011 documentary, Queen: Days of Our Lives.
"And [Freddie] did sit us down at one point and he said: ‘Look, you probably know what I’m going to say. You know what I’m suffering from, you know what the problem is, but I don’t want to talk about it anymore, I just want to make music to the day I f***ing die and let’s get on with it.'" Brian recalled.
Roger Taylor spoke about the media's reaction to the rumours around Freddie's health, adding: "His house was surrounded by a couple of hundred I reckon [of photographers]. They were just like vultures, really.
"It was utterly shocking you know," Roger said, adding that the press were "filming the groceries in the back of the car boot: ‘Any medicine in there’? It’s absolutely shocking."
Brian went on to explain how the band then left London for their favourite recording studio in Switzerland, to give Freddie the peace and quiet he needed.
"It became difficult to work in London, there was such a terrible focus of attention on him. People were sticking cameras through his toilet windows as soon as the rumours were out there," Brian said, adding, 'So Montreux was a much more peaceful place to work, so we ended up doing a lot of stuff there."
The band gathered in Switzerland to record some of their last hits together for the album Innuendo, and Brian recalls Freddie's amazing state of mind despite his impending death.
"Freddie found an amazing tranquillity and I never really heard him complain," Brian said.
"I remember we went out one night and he had horrible problems with his leg. And Freddie saw me looking at it and said, 'Oh, Brian, do you want to see what it's like?' And he showed me, and I think... he reacted to my face, and he said, 'I'm really sorry. I didn't mean to do that to you.'"
Brian continued: "I never heard him go, 'This is really awful. My life is sh*t. I'm going to die.' Never, never, never. He was an amazingly strong person."
Recalling Freddie's last days of recording, Roger added: "The sicker Freddie got, the more he seemed to need to record, to give himself something to do, you know - some sort of reason to get up.
Freddie's final years - Queen - Days Of Our Lives Documentary (Excerpt)
"And he would make it in whenever he could. So really, it was a period of fairly intense work, actually."
Speaking of their last days in the studio together, Brian added: "Freddie was becoming weakened by this horrible disease and he finds it hard to stand up a lot of the time, but he'd throw a couple of vodkas down and prop himself up on the mixing desk and have his mike there, and go for it."
The star's closest friends continued to describe his final days, with Queen's longtime manager, Jim Beach, describing their last day together.
"I went to see Freddie, and it was in fact the last time I saw him," he recalled.
"He said to me, 'I haven't given you anything in my will. You're my executor, you can do anything with my legacy,'", Freddie said, adding: "'You can do anything with my music, but never make me boring.'"
Brian May himself then spoke of the last time he saw Freddie Mercury, when he and his wife visited him at Garden Lodge.
Freddie Mercury and Monserrat Caballe perform at Barcelona Olympics in 1992
"The last time I saw Freddie was, Anita and I went to see him and he was in bed with the curtains open so he could see out into his garden," Brian said.
"And I was talking about things in his garden, saying, 'That's really interesting'" before Brian remembers Freddie being frank with him: "'Guys, you don't need to feel like you need to make conversation.'" Freddie said.
"I'm just so happy that you're here,'" he said Mercury added, "'So even if we say nothing, it's just having these moments.'"
A tearful Roger Taylor had a slightly less happy ending when Freddie died.
"The worst thing was I was actually on my way to see him, and I was about 300 yards away when Peter Freestone rang me to tell me, 'Don't bother coming cos he's gone.'"
A good friend of the singer, Peter Freestone, lived with Freddie in his beloved Kensington home, Garden Lodge, alongside his six cats and long-term partner Jim Hutton, for many years before the house was left to his ex-girlfriend, Mary Austin, after the star's death in 1991.
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Jim Hutton and Freddie Mercury, lived happily in private at Freddie's West London home and both wore wedding rings as a symbol of their commitment to one another.
Keeping the relationship - and Freddie's sexuality to themselves - Jim said after Freddie's death: "We both thought our relationship, and being gay, was our business.”
Freddie Mercury passed away at his Kensington home, Garden Lodge, from bronchial pneumonia due to AIDS-related complications, on November 24, 1991.
His partner Jim Hutton died on January 1, 2010, aged 60, after a long battle with lung cancer.