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Articles > Freddie Mercury Articles > 11-25-1991 - The Star - AIDS Kills The King of Rock


Music world is in mourning for Queen's superstar singer


Freddie Mercury: The Last Tragic Hours
Tragic rock star Freddie Mercury finally lost his agonising two-year battle against AIDS last night. He died at his £4million London home a gaunt shadow of the flamboyant singer who had taken the pop world by storm.

Freddie, 45 had confessed at the weekend that the years of one-night stands had finally caught up with and that he was HIV positive. The final curtain was one the Queen singer had long feared. He was a self-confessed bi-sexual and three of his former gay lovers had died of AIDS,

It was a lonely end for Freddie, who always claimed to be one of the loneliest men in the world. The whole rock world was in mourning last night over the loss of a true superstar.

Freddie's Nightmare
'Loneliest' man found happiness with Mary
Pop legend Freddie Mercury last night paid the tragic price for a hell-raising life of sex, drugs and rock and roll. After 20 years of shameless bed-hopping the self-confessed bi-sexual passed peacefully away at his £4million London Home.

Three of his former gay lovers had died of the disease in the past six years. Shocked , he told friends he would change his sex life to stop him catching it. Safe sex, he said, was possible, "But you can't expect to give up sex for ever."

Ironically the 45-year-old millionaire had claimed for years he was one of the loneliest men in the world. And when the curtain came down yesterday, sadly he was. Freddie, the outrageous showman, had three real loves in his life - sex, music and ONE special woman.

The sex was mostly one-night stands with a string of gay men all over the globe.

Roulette
They never loved the real Freddie Mercury, he said. They were only in love with his fame. Once he told a close friend "Love is like Russian Roulette for me, I've tried either side - male and female - but all of them have gone wrong. The one-night stands are just me playing a part. I can be a good lover but after all these years I'm not a good partner for anybody."

"Maybe my love is dangerous - but who wants their love to be safe." He was never bitter about the men. He always gave them a Cartier watch by which to remember their night of passion with the famous Freddie Mercury.

Of the three gay lovers who died of AIDS, two were very close to him. Tony Bastin, from Brighton, who died before Christmas 1986, aged 35 had a two-year affair with him. And Dubliner Paul Prenter, his personal assistant for nine years had an on-off sexual relationship with the Queen star.

Turmoil
The pair split up when Paul spilled the beans on their affair. A furious Mercury fumed at the time: "I've felt betrayed and let down many times, I just grit my teeth, bite my tongue and say damn them. But I'm a softie, a peach. I'm not a person to bear a grudge."

Tragically to Freddie's horror, Prenter died last August.

Women also gave the superstar sleepless nights. For the past 16 years, blonde Mary Austin caused Freddie deep emotional turmoil and heartbreak. They met in the early '70's as Freddie was shopping. He later said: Mary is my only friend in the world." within days they moved into a flat in London's Holland Park.

Their love blossomed for seven years and they even considered getting married. "The sex was good." Freddie said. "The only thing that got Mary mad was when he would jump up in the middle of the night to write lyrics.

Split
Mary quit her day job to become his personal assistant. She traveled the world with his group, Queen, booking their hotels and limousines. In 1982 they split up but remained good friends. Freddie bought her a £400,000 four bed-roomed flat in Kensington, near his Edwardian home. When Freddie dabbled in hard drugs like LSD and Heroin, Mary helped him kick the habit.

And two years later, when the romance was rekindled, she asked Freddie to give her a child Freddie responded by making her the sole heir to his massive fortune in his will but told her: "I'd rather have another cat."

Friends said that Mary was deeply hurt by his gay flings. But she tolerated them rather than lose him altogether. Freddie said recently: "Ours is a pure friendship but friendship of the highest standard. It's an instinctive thing. I still love her. We'll probably grow old together."

Mary now has a young son, Richard, by another lover. Freddie was the child's godfather. She is expecting another. His other women were fast and furious. They included Barbara Valentine, former Drifters singer Fay Treadwell, Mary Martin and Jo Burt.

Market boy who became a megastar
Freddie was earning pocket money on an antique market stall in London to boost his student grant when he was asked to join Brian May's band in 1969. It was just for kicks in those days. Homework came first.

Freddie got a diploma in design and art at Ealing College, Brian May got a PhD in Astronomy and a BSc in Physics, Taylor Secured a degree in Biology and Deacon qualified as an electronics engineer.

The band's first gig was at Finsbury Park. Within four years they were zooming up the charts with hits like Killer Queen, Seven Seas of Rhye and We Will Rock You.

Cult
But it was Bohemian Rhapsody that really made them. Freddie became a cult hero. With his tight leotards and leopard skin costumes he was a dazzling, energetic lead singer the fans adored. Since their first hit single in the early 70s they have sold a staggering 80 million records worldwide.

Freddie once said: "At the start I knew we were going to be huge - and we were." The king of Queen is gone - but his memory will live on.

An Antique Load Show.
Freddie's motto was spend, spend, spend. He lavished megabucks on antiques. Friends say he spent £2million building up a collection of Impressionist paintings, Japanese wood carvings and French furniture. He said: "All my money goes to Sotheby's."

Once Freddie forked out £250,000 on a 144 piece antique dinner set. He told friends. "I'd like to be buried with all my treasures just like the pharaohs. If I could afford it I'd have a pyramid built in Kensington."