Who Wants to Live Forever…

by MSO

This bronze statue of Freddie Mercury stands 3 metres high and overlooks Lake Geneva in Montreux, Switzerland. It was unveiled on November 25, 1996.

Freddie Mercury was a British musician best known for his flamboyant stage persona and powerful vocals. Mercury was born Farrokh Bulsara, on September 5, 1946, in Zanzibar. Mercury spent the majority of his childhood in India and began taking piano lessons at the age of seven. In 1954, Mercury went to a British-style boarding school for boys where he formed a school band called, The Hectics. It is said that at the age of 12 Mercury had the ability to listen to a song on the radio and play it back on the piano. This is around the time that Mercury started going by the name Freddie. When Mercury was 17, he and his family moved to England, where Mercury earned a diploma in Art and Graphic design. Over the next couple of years he joined several bands, but they never made it far. In April 1970, Mercury joined guitarist Brian May and drummer Roger Taylor to form the band Queen. This is when he also changed his last name from Bulsara to Mercury.

Mercury is famous for his live performances and theatrical style that made the audience go wild. One of Mercury’s most memorable performances took place at Live Aid in 1985 when the entire stadium audience of 72,000 people clapped, sang and swayed in unison without the music.

Mercury wrote some of Queen’s greatest hits such as, Bohemian Rhapsody, Killer Queen, We Are the Champions and Crazy Little Thing Called Love. Over the course of Mercury’s career he performed approximately 700 concerts in countries around the world.

In the early 1970s Mercury was in a long-term relationship with Mary Austin, and lived with her for several years. Mercury started having an affair with a man which ended his relationship with Austin. Mercury stayed close with Austin for the rest of his life, saying she was his best friend, and she could never be replaced by anyone else.

In 1985, he began another long-term relationship with a hairdresser named Jim Hutton. Hutton was tested HIV-positive in 1990, and lived with Mercury for the last six years of his life. Hutton nursed Mercury during his illness and was present at his bedside when he died.

According to his partner Jim Hutton, Mercury was diagnosed with AIDS shortly after Easter of 1987. Up until November 23, 1991, Mercury denied rumors of being HIV positive and was stalked by photographers and paparazzi who pointed out his appearance and absence at performances. On November 24, 1991, 24 hours after his announcement to the world, Mercury died at the age of 45. The official cause of death was bronchial pneumonia resulting from AIDS. The news of his death had reached newspaper and television crews by the early hours of 25 November.

Mercury’s funeral was a private service held on November 27th, with 35 of his close friends and family, including Elton John attending. Mercury was cremated at Kensal Green Cemetery, in West London. The whereabouts of his ashes are believed to be known only to Mary Austin.

In his will, Mercury left the majority of his wealth, including his home and recording royalties, to Mary Austin, and the remainder to his parents and sister. He further left $500,000 to his chef Joe Fanelli, $500,000 to his personal assistant Peter Freestone, $100,000 to his driver Terry Giddings, and $500,000 to Jim Hutton. Mary Austin continues to live at Mercury’s home, Garden Lodge, Kensington, with her family. Jim Hutton passed away on January 1, 2010.

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