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(Credit: Carol Lee / Alamy)

Music

Revisit the tragic final interview of Freddie Mercury

@SamWKemp

Queen’s iconic frontman, Freddie Mercury, passed away from AIDS-related Bronchopneumonia on November 24th, 1991, leaving behind an immense legacy. With his four-octave vocal range and exuberant performance style, he wowed the world with tracks like ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’, ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’, ‘We Are The Champions’, ‘Another One Bites The Dust’ and many, many more. Queen sold 90 million albums worldwide, achieving four top ten hits and two number one singles. But, judging from the final interview he gave before his death, none of that mattered in the end. “I don’t want to change the world,” Mercury said. “For me, happiness is the most important thing.”

Of course, in his own way, Mercury did change the world. Never before had the public seen a man so confidently express his femininity. Unlike many of his contemporaries, Mercury made little effort to disguise his sexuality. Instead, he celebrated it, emphasising his androgyny as a way of rupturing the status quo. Considering he was such an open book, it’s all the more revealing that Mercury spent his final days in relative solitude.

Freddie made his last public appearance at the 1990 Brit Awards at the Dominion Theatre. By this time, his band were aware of his HIV diagnosis; the public, on the other hand, did not. That isn’t to say there wasn’t speculation surrounding his health. He was gaunt, thin, and his skin was peeling from his face. In the final two weeks of his life, Mercury decided to travel to Switzerland for a holiday with his partner Hutton, who he’d met in the Heaven nightclub in 1985. On the couple’s return to London, Mercury’s condition worsened. He lost his sight, stopped eating, refused to take his medication and eventually passed away.

His final vocal interview offers us a glimpse into Mercury’s mental state towards the end of his life. Knowing you only have a certain amount of time left can do strange things to people. Thankfully, Mercury seems to have used his final days to pull the loose threads of his life together. We hear him admit his failings and remind him of the things he felt were truly important: happiness, creativity, and friendship. Make sure you check out the full video above.