Queen‘s exuberant singer Freddie Mercury died 30 years ago tomorrow, on November 23, 1991 from bronchial pneumonia resulting from AIDS. The star’s death sent shockwaves through the music industry, but nobody was affected more than his band. Brian May was keen to remember his lost friend fondly on ITV‘s breakfast show Good Morning Britain.
Brian did confess it wasn’t always easy for the band, however, who tried to protect Freddie as best they could.
He explained: “It was a hard time but it kind of united us as a family.
“We kind of closed ranks around Freddie and tried to make his life as easy as possible and tried to keep the harpies away. [There were] lots of people, kind of, poking lenses through his windows. It was a horrible time for him.”
Brian added: “A lot of the time we went to Montreux. Freddie actually lived in Montreux for a while.”
Brian continued by saying that Freddie had a “lovely time” in those final days with the band.
This was mostly because of the recording studio where he was staying.
He said: “We could make music – and making music was Freddie’s life. He could insulate himself once he was in that environment.
“Strangely enough it was one of the most joyful times we ever had. Freddie seemed to be able to leave it all outside and just enjoy making his music.”
Later in the interview, Brian spoke candidly about The Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert he and the other members of Queen held for their late singer.
The concert was held six months after Freddie had died, and its aim was to help those affected by AIDS.
Brian mused that the stigma around the disease was “standing in the way of humanity preventing it”.
He went on: “We did the tribute concert for Freddie, but also to start the awareness that AIDs was a disease that affected everyone.”
Brian added: “And we made some of the first steps to remove that stigma [with the concert].”
On November 23, 1991, Freddie provided a statement about his wellbeing where he confirmed he had contracted the virus.
He said: “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.”
Freddie added: “My privacy has always been very special to me and I am famous for my lack of interviews. Please understand this policy will continue.”
24-hours later, on November 24, 1991, Freddie died at the age of 45.
He was last in his home in Kensington. A funeral service was conducted days later on November 27, with 35 close friends attending, including Elton John and the rest of Freddie’s band.