Freddie Mercury: In His Own Words documentary
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It’s been 30 years since the world lost Queen’s lead vocalist Freddie Mercury after the musical legend tragically died from AIDS on November 24, 1991. For many, his legacy will live on forever, but Sir Elton John will remember a whole different side to the musician.
I was moping about when a friend showed up at my door and handed me something wrapped in a pillowcase
Sir Elton John
In his memoir, the Tiny Dancer songwriter spoke about his heartbreak of watching his friend deteriorate right before his eyes as the relentless disease ravaged his body.
After revealing to his millions of fans around the world that he was battling AIDS, Freddie passed away at home just 24 hours later aged just 45.
Only those in his inner circle were aware of his illness, including Elton, who he broke the news to in his final days and weeks.
Despite his ill health, thoughtful Freddie still wanted to spend time with his friend during his last days.
And following his passing Elton, among others, was surprised with a Christmas present from beyond the grave.
The singer recalled his shock when he received a knock on the door while he was still mourning.
“By all rights, Freddie should have spent those final days concerned only with his own comfort. But that wasn’t who he was. He truly lived for others,” he penned in his book titled, Me.
“Freddie had passed on November 24, 1991, and weeks after the funeral, I was still grieving. On Christmas Day, I learnt that Freddie had left me one final testament to his selflessness.”
He went on: “I was moping about when a friend showed up at my door and handed me something wrapped in a pillowcase. 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 on the front from Freddie.
“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. Happy Christmas.’
“I was overcome, 44 years old at the time, crying like a child,” he wrote.
“Here was this beautiful man, dying from AIDS, and in his final days, he had somehow managed to find me a lovely Christmas present.”
Elton explained that despite the moment being as sad as it was, it’s the one that springs to mind when he thinks of his dear friend.
“It captures the character of the man,” he said fondly.
“In death, he reminded me of what made him so special in life.”
Elton also revealed that he could only spend limited time at the rock star’s bedside during his final days because he found what was happening to him so upsetting.
“He was too frail to get out of bed, he was losing his sight, his body was covered in Kaposi’s sarcoma lesions, and yet he was still definitely Freddie, gossiping away, completely outrageous,” Elton remembered.
“I couldn’t work out whether he didn’t realise how close to death he was or if he knew perfectly well but was determined not to let what was happening to him stop him being himself.”
Elton also credited the Bohemian Rhapsody star with saving his life at the height of his drug problems.
Freddie begged him to go to rehab to get his cocaine addiction under control, which had spiralled as he struggled to deal with his global fame.
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