How Did Freddie Mercury Die? Details on the Rock Superstar’s Untimely Demise

how did freddie mercury die? the wax statue of freddie mercury in the Netherelands
Image from Shutterstock.

Last updated on September 7th, 2023 at 01:44 am

With his eccentric style and undeniable charm, Freddie Mercury, frontman of the British rock band Queen, has changed how rock music is seen worldwide. 

His death left Queen fans and music enthusiasts worldwide shocked and sad when they heard the news. Due to the sudden announcement of his death, many people were left wondering: how did Freddie Mercury die? 

In this article, find out what happened to Freddie Mercury during his last few years as he grappled with illness and the details surrounding his death. 

How Did Freddie Mercury Die?

Freddie Mercury died due to bronchial pneumonia, which was a complication of HIV/AIDS. 

Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) is a medical condition from a human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) that weakens the body, attacking the immune system. AIDS is identified as the advanced stage of HIV. 

freddier mercury on a balcony in 1981
Image of Freddie Mercury in 1981. Image is in the Public Domain

When Did Freddie Mercury Die?

Freddie Mercury died on November 24, 1991, at his home in Kensington, London, surrounded by some of his loved ones. 

The night before, he bravely informed the public of his condition through an official statement with the help of Queen’s manager, Jim Beach. The statement read: 

“Following the enormous conjecture in the press over the last two weeks, I wish to confirm that I have been tested HIV positive and have AIDS. I felt it correct to keep this information private to date to protect the privacy of those around me. However, the time has come now for my friends and fans around the world to know the truth, and I hope that everyone will join with me, my doctors, and all those worldwide in the fight against this terrible disease.”

Related: How Did John Lennon Die?

How Old Was Freddie Mercury When He Died?

Freddie Mercury died only a couple of months after his birthday. He was 45 years old. 

Where is Freddie Mercury Buried?

The “Bohemian Rhapsody” singer’s funeral services were held on November 27, 1991, at West London Crematorium and were conducted by a Zoroastrian priest. 

Upon his request, his remains were cremated and passed on to Mercury’s former partner and confidant, Mary Austin. The remains are buried in a location only known to Austin. 

Who Inherited Freddie Mercury’s Money?

Freddie Mercury was known to have been worth an estimated value of $10 million, and this was distributed among his loved ones. 

His home, Garden Lodge, was bequeathed to Mary Austin, and all his privately owned shares were divided among his family, Mary Austin, his partner Jim Hutton, and close friends.

old picture of freddie mercury freddie mercury last words
Image of Freddie Mercury in 1981. Image is in the Public Domain.

What were Freddie Mercury’s Last Words?

Jim Hutton recalls what he considers the last conversation he had with Freddie Mercury. 

Mercury requested to look at his paintings a few days before he passed. Hutton helped him downstairs and carried him back to his bed, at which point he told Jim: “I never realized you were as strong as you are.”

Related: 31 Inspiring Facts About Queen

Freddie Mercury’s Battle with HIV/AIDS

What happened to Freddie Mercury before he died? Symptoms of AIDS had been manifesting as early as 1982, during a time when HIV/AIDS was an epidemic that was still shrouded in mystery, and there was a stigma with the illness as most that were diagnosed were gay and bisexual. 

Along with the stigma that came with the condition was the discrimination encountered by those suffering from the illness. This is why the lead singer did his best to keep the status of his health secret for years. He even kept it from some of those closest to him.

Mercury was diagnosed with AIDS in 1987. In the same year, he stated in an interview that he tested negative for HIV/AIDS, but the media had already taken notice of the change in his appearance, which sparked rumors about his actual condition.

The Debonair Musician’s Final Moments

Freddie Mercury’s last public appearance on stage was on February 18, 1990, at the Brit Awards. He appeared with other members of Queen as they received the award for Outstanding Contribution to British Music.

Even though his health was continuously declining, Mercury still pursued making music with Queen. They traveled to Switzerland to record, knowing it may be the last they’d work as a complete group. As Queen guitarist Brian May said in 2013, “He obviously was in a lot of pain and discomfort.”

He returned to Kensington, West London, in June 1991. Not long after, he lost his sight and got frail. Three weeks before he died, he decided to stop taking his AIDS medications and relied on painkillers. 

a stamp with the image of freddie mercury
Image from Shutterstock.

Freddie Mercury’s Farewell

Shot just a few months before his death, Queen’s music video for “These Are the Days of Our Lives” served as Freddie Mercury’s last words to his family, friends, and supporters. In the previous part of the video, he looks straight at the camera with a sad look as he whispers, “I still love you.”

According to the video director, Rudi Dolezal, he was requested to shoot the music video swiftly due to Mercury’s condition. Still, he asked for another take to sing the song’s final line. Afterward, he snapped his fingers and walked out of the frame flawlessly. 

As perfectly put by Dolezal: “In these last few seconds of that song, he gives us a résumé of his whole life: ‘I was a big superstar, but don’t take it too seriously.’ And then, ‘I still love you,’ which is to the fans. Then he walks out of life. Even in his last moments, he planned his exit artistically. That’s how he wanted it to be.”

Related: How Did David Crosby Die?

People Also Ask

What Religion Was Freddie Mercury When He Died?

Questions about his religion circulated up until his death. Though not religious, Mercury deeply respected his parents’ beliefs and adhered to the Zoroastrian faith. 

Zoroastrianism is an Iranian religion based on the teachings of the prophet Zoroaster. 

Who Was Freddie Mercury Seeing When He Died?

At his death, the legendary frontman had been with his partner, Jim Hutton, for seven years. The pair met at a London club called Heaven in 1985. 

The relationship was kept secret until the singer’s death, as he did not formally come out to the public and his family. 

According to Hutton: “he might have worried about how coming out would have affected him professionally, but he didn’t say that. We both thought our relationship and being gay was our business.”

Gay marriage was not legal in the U.K. then, but the couple wore wedding rings to symbolize their commitment.  

image of freddie mercury albums
Image from Shutterstock.

Did Queen Stop When Freddie Died?

The surviving members of Queen decided to part ways after his death, Brian May and Roger Taylor, then eventually became busy with their respective solo projects.

In 1997, after their second performance since Mercury’s death, John Deacon retired from the band. Their last album together, Made in Heaven, was released in 1995. 

It was in the early 2000s when May and Taylor reunited with a new frontman, Paul Rodgers, calling the group Queen + Paul Rodgers.

The Show Must Go On: His Legacy Lives

In 1992, a year after his death, a concert was held in Wembley Stadium: The Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert for AIDS Awareness. Several guests performed, such as Def Leppard, Guns n’ Roses, and Metallica, along with the remaining members of Queen. 

On the same night was the launch of the Mercury Phoenix Trust, an AIDS organization to which the proceeds for the concert were given. This organization continues to be active, fighting HIV/AIDS worldwide.

Freddie Mercury’s legacy lives on as he is immortalized in different forms of media. One of the most recent is a movie that takes its namesake from one of Queen’s greatest hits: Bohemian Rhapsody. The 2018 biopic starred Rami Malek as Freddie Mercury. This film has become the highest-grossing musical biographical film of all time during its release.

Even almost 32 years after his death, Freddie Mercury is still a household name, with Queen’s music being continuously appreciated by different generations. His memory and legacy will forever live in the hearts he has touched. 

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Written by Maurine Teaño


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