From Queen Archives: Freddie Mercury, Brian May, Roger Taylor, John Deacon, Interviews, Articles, Reviews
Articles > Freddie Mercury Articles > 11-25-1991 - The Mirror - Rock Star Freddie Is Dead
Parents too late to see AIDS son.
Rock giant Freddie Mercury died of AIDS last night - 25 hours after telling the world he had the killer disease.
The 45-year-old Queen singer died just before his parents reached his bedside at his £4million Kensington mansion after a race across London. They left later, deeply upset.
Freddie's publicist Roxy Meade said he died 'peacefully' at 7pm of broncho-pneumonia brought on by AIDS. A private cremation will be held later this week.
The gay star who belted out chartbusting hits like Bohemian Rhapsody and We Are The Champions, is the first major pop idol to fall victim to the AIDS scourge.
A member of his entourage said: 'The rest of the band are all devastated. They are in a complete state of shock and can't say anything at the moment. It was so quick that we haven't come to terms with the simple fact that he has gone.'
Freddie had lived like a recluse for the past two years as his illness left him increasingly frail and gaunt. His death was announced at midnight.
Fans immediately gathered in the street outside his home and wept as his body was taken away in a van.
Paul Curtis, 21 who delivered a bouquet of carnations to the house said 'He was brilliant'
Radio stations across the country began playing hit after hit. Paul Phear, a disc-jockey on London's capital Radio said: 'I guess this is the day we all knew was coming but prayed would never arrive.'
Freddie retreated behind the 10ft walls of his home as fears for his health grew. On Saturday he issued a statement confirming what had been feared for months - that he had AIDS. It was time, he said, for my friends and fans around the world to know the truth. Shamed.
Early today it was revealed that he secretly recorded videos about AIDS to be released after his death. Freddie sings on some and talks about the plight of fellow sufferers on others. The star's doctor, AIDS expert Gordon Atkinson was at his side when he died. Moments before the Doctor had emerged to tell newsmen he was 'slipping'.
Freddie's deeply religious parents Bomi and Jer Bulsara dashed from their modest terraced home in Feltham, Middlesex. Freddie shamed his family through his gay exploits. His elderly parents belong to the Zoroastrian sect of Ancient Persia which condemns homosexuality as 'unclean'. Family friend Rusi Dalal said: 'They were very unhappy about his homosexuality. Being gay is not accepted in the Zoroastrian religion. We also have very few believers and the religion can only be passed on through the Father to his children, Obviously a gay man will have no children and this deeply upset the Bulsara family.'
But Mr Dalal added that the parents, who moved to England from India 30 years ago, had healed the rift with their son. In the early years, Freddie hoodwinked his parents by living with girlfriend Mary Austin and hinting that she would become his wife. One former Queen employee said: 'For many years, Freddie's mum asked: When are you going to get married? She had no idea about his lifestyle. He always wheeled Mary out if there were going to be difficult questions about being gay.' Mr Dalal said: ' I believe his parents got on quite well with him recently. They were proud of his achievements and he did care for them. But it had been difficult.' Freddie's Impossible Love.
So close to Mary but so many gay affairs.
Tragic Freddie Mercury's platonic girlfriend Mary Austin pledged to support him to the last as he lay dying from AIDS. She said: 'I love him very much and have loved him for the past 21 years.'
But from the start, the pair knew theirs was an impossible love. Freddie's homosexuality and a list of boyfriends as long as his arm so to that. The flamboyant Queen singer slept with whoever he wanted and once boasted 'I've had more lovers that Elizabeth Taylor.' He revelled in gay decadence and surrounded himself with followers tagged with girls' names like Phoebe and Liza. He said: "My sex drive is enormous. I've got a big bed and it can sleep six."
But then AIDS began to destroy his inner circle as friends and lovers were gripped by the HIV virus. Freddie retreated into a subdued, private world. And petite blonde Mary, 35, emerged again as the one constant love of his life. With her three-year-old son Richard-Freddie's godchild-she stands to inherit the bulk of the star's estimated £20 million fortune. In recent weeks she had been his closest companion behind the 10ft walls of his mansion in Kensington, West London. Most days she left her nearby flat-bought by Freddie-and sat with him for hours. She acted as his personal assistant, nurse and shoulder to cry on. And she said: " will be constantly with him to help him fight his illness'
Freddie met Mary long before he hit the big time. He was running a clothes stall in Kensington market with Queen drummer Roger Taylor. She was manageress of the pioneering fashion boutique Biba. They lived together for seven years. Freddie claimed they enjoyed a sexual relationship until he acknowledged he was gay. More recently he gave his blessing to Mary having a child by an interior designer-and doted on Richard after the boy was born. His caring side also shone through as he showered lovers with expensive gifts. Lately he had been on a lavish house hunt, snapping up 10 homes for Mends and employees. But he could be a bitch. A record company executive told how Freddie flipped in Munich, one of his regular haunts.
The boss said: "We were cruising in a limo, drinking, taking drugs and watching TV.
"Freddie's latest young boy switched channels and Freddie went bonkers, shouting and screaming.
"He told the chauffeur to stop the car and physically kicked the kid out, leaving him stranded miles from anywhere.
"Then we went to find Freddie another friend."
The star also loved New York, particularly a club called The Mineshaft, which is notorious for violent gay practices. Slut
He said of the Big Apple: "It's Sin City. I just slut myself."
But in 1987, Freddie discovered that two of his former Lovers had died of AIDS. And earlier this year, his ex-manager Paul Prenter became another victim. Before he died, Paul said: "Freddie was so scared he would catch it. "It was more likely he would walk on water than go with a woman. Once his friends started dying, Freddie knew his wild life had to stop."
Pop World Mourns A True Great
Tributes to tragic Freddie poured in from the pop world early today. Shattered DJ Simon Bates said: "He was the most entertaining artist of the eighties." And Capitol Radio DJ David Jensen added sadly: "It's such a terrible shock. Freddie and Queen made one of their first radio appearances on my Radio Luxembourg show in the early seventies. Even then Freddie had great charm and charisma. One instinctively knew he would become a big, big star." Singer Phil Collins described Freddie as a tremendous performer. And neighbour Tony Blackburn said: "I'm very sorry to hear of this." The tragic news was kept from Rod Stewart until he came off stage in Michigan.A spokesman for him said: "The news will devastate Rod. They were close friends."
A Kind of Magic by Rick Sky
FREDDIE MERCURY was pop's most flamboyant superstar. The bisexual singer's life style made Elton John look like a shy wallflower in comparison. On stage Mercury was an over-the-top performer full of grand, dramatic gestures, who camped it up mercilessly. Off stage he was little different. He loved wild living, riotous parties and spending money Back in 1974, when Queen burst on to the pop scene with their first hit single, Seven Seas Of Rhye, there was little doubt that Mercury would become one of rock's characters.
The buck-toothed singer wore leotards, leathers and cat-suits and strutted and preened like a ballet dancer force-fed on vodka. Right from the very beginning he lived his life like the superstar he was destined to become. And as the hits kept coming -among the band's biggest were Killer Queen, Bohemian Rhapsody, We Are The Champions and A Kind Of Magic - that life became even more outrageous and extravagant. Pop's Mr Showman was well known for the parties he threw where the champagne and the good times were never ending. At one I went to in London's Kensington, just a stone's throw from the singer's £4 million mansion, naked girls, their bodies painted, paraded among guests, serving drinks and food.
At another, strippers performed for guests. One danced with a boa constrictor while others, when they removed all their clothes, turned out to be men. Mercury had a large entourage of camp followers and never made any secret of his bisexuality. The singer - born Frederick Bulsara in Zanzibar in 1946 - once confessed to me, in an extremely candid interview, how he was determined to live life to the limit. He said: "Excess is part of my nature. Dullness is a disease. I really need danger and excitement. "I've often been warned to stay away from clubs because they are too dangerous. But I revel in that - I'm never scared of putting myself out on a limb.
"I have a lot of gay friends - but then I like having interesting and strange people about me. "I'm a very emotional person, a person of real extremes, and often that's destructive both to myself and others.
Indeed Freddie WAS being destroyed - by AIDS. So much so that when, earlier this year, he made a video for the single I'm Going Slightly Mad, he appeared dressed as the poet Byron, complete with a wig and layer upon layer of make-up to hide the ravages of his illness. The last time I had a proper interview with him was just as the rumours about his health were starting. He was a changed man. The party-loving show-off had disappeared to be replaced by a virtual recluse who spent his time locked away in his Kensington mansion.
Freddie told me: "I'm too old to rock 'n' roll. I have to face facts. I'm over 40 now and think about my age a lot. "I can't carry on rocking the way I have done in the past.
"It is all too much. It's no way for a grown man to behave. I have stopped my nights of wild partying. That's not because I'm ill but down to age. "I'm no spring chicken. Now I prefer to spend my time at home. It is part of growing up."
One of Mercury's biggest hits was Who Wants To Live Forever? Freddie will do just that... in pop history and for millions of rock fans.