Elton John Reveals Beautiful Gift Freddie Mercury Bought Him Just Before He Died
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It's been 30 years since Queen frontman and iconic rock star Freddie Mercury died at 45 years old.
A prolific songwriter and music producer, Mercury fronted Queen from 1970 till his death in 1991 of bronchial pneumonia relating to AIDS.
Mercury kept his diagnosis a secret, only confirming the day before he died that he had contracted AIDS, despite being diagnosed in 1987.
As remembered by Elton John in his 2013 book 'Love is the Cure: On Life, Loss and the End of Aids', Mercury was a positive and caring person to those around him all the way through his final days.
John says only close friends knew of Mercury's battle with the disease, but those closest to him knew the end was coming.
"I knew exactly what it was going to do to Freddie. As did he. He knew death, agonising death, was coming," said John.
Despite his failing health, John says Mercury continued to bring light to other people's lives and keep their spirits up.
"He kept being the funny, outrageous and profoundly generous person he had always been," the 'Your Song' singer wrote.
At the very end, John says Mercury was so sick he almost wasn't able to stand and was nearly blind, but he still spent his time thinking of others.
John says he was still in mourning for Mercury when, a month after his death, on Christmas Day a present showed up at his house, delivered by a mutual friend.
"I opened it up, and inside was a painting by one of my favourite artists, the British painter Henry Scott Tuke. And there was a note from Freddie," he said.
"Years before, Freddie and I had developed pet names for each other, our drag queen alter-egos. I was Sharon, and he was Melina. Freddie's note read: "Dear Sharon, I thought you'd like this. Love, Melina.
"I was overcome, 44-years-old at the time, crying like a child. Here was this beautiful man, dying from AIDS, and in his final days, he had somehow managed to find me a lovely Christmas present.
"As sad as that moment was, it's often the one I think about when I remember Freddie because it captures the character of the man. In death, he reminded me of what made him so special."
A BBC documentary, Freddie Mercury: The Final Act, has revealed what the last days were like for Mercury, who stopped taking his HIV medication in early November.
His parents, Jer and Bomi, and sister Kashmira, visited him at the beginning of the week he died, before he requested they stop visiting him as he didn't want to cause them any more pain. His Queen bandmates were not part of the inner circle who saw him in his final days.
At the very end, Mercury was only seen by his partner Jim Hutton, his ex-boyfriend Joe Fanelli and Peter Freestone who all lived in his home with him.
He also saw his ex-girlfriend Mary Austin and close friend Dave Clarke; with the group making sure Mercury was never, ever alone, whether asleep or awake.
Speaking to the Express, Freestone described those final days as Mercury went public with his diagnosis and died shortly after.
"Freddie thought about releasing a statement at various times during previous years but was always held back by his feelings and concern towards us and his family, the people closest to him. He wanted to protect us as much as himself from the glare and scrutiny," he said.
But after the information was released, Mercury was finally at peace said Freestone.
"I have never seen him so relaxed because the secret was out. There was nothing to hide. He had stopped taking his medication and he was prepared," he said.