Freddy Mercury: Star was ‘months’ away from life-extending AIDS treatment says Brian May

Brian May gets ‘emotional’ at launch of latest album

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Freddy Mercury’s early death in 1991 due to AIDS complications sent rippled around the music world. To this day, his death is still on the minds of those who were closest to him, including Elton John and Queen co-star Brian May – who have both opened up about his final moments. In a new interview on BBC Radio 2, May said he was still “struggling” with Mercury’s death.

The star’s 1998 album Another World was an attempt to focus on something other than Mercury’s death, he explained.

“I’m struggling to get out of what is still a difficult place having lost Freddie and kind of lost my sense of reality,” he said.

Mercury, who was only 45 when he died, didn’t speak publically about his diagnosis until the day before his death.

But behind the scenes, for months his closest friends saw the reality of Mercury’s decline.

According to Elton John, the star was “covered in Kaposi’s sarcoma lesions”, tumours that appear as purple spots on the skin, and was “too frail to get out of bed”.

“I knew exactly what it was going to do to Freddie. As did he. He knew death, agonising death, was coming,” wrote Elton John in his 2013 book.

“Yet he was still definitely Freddie, gossiping away, completely outrageous,” added John.

“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.”

Brian May even revealed to the Sunday Times that AIDS had cost the star his foot, which he was upset about because it left the Queen singer in “terrible pain”.

“The problem was actually his foot, and tragically there was very little left of it.

“Once, he showed it to us at dinner. And he said, ‘Oh Brian, I’m sorry I’ve upset you by showing you that’.

“And I said, ‘I’m not upset, Freddie, except to realise you have to put up with all this terrible pain’.”

The Queen co-founder tragically also shared how he was certain that Mercury “missed” treatment that allows HIV and AIDS sufferers to live a normal life by a “few months”.

He said: “If it had been a bit later he would still have been with us, I’m sure.

“Hmmm. You can’t do ‘what if’, can you? You can’t go there because therein lies madness.”

HIV, which stands for human immunodeficiency virus, is the virus that damages the cells in your immune system, making it harder for your body to fight off everyday illnesses.

AIDS is used to describe the life-threatening infections and illnesses people with HIV might develop.

Latest research

Without treatment, AIDS is estimated to kill people within three years. But thanks to progress in research AIDS is no longer an immediate death sentence.

Treatment for the virus includes antiretroviral medicines, which are offered by the NHS.

These drugs work by preventing the virus from replicating in the body.

Researchers are also looking at using gene-editing technology to discover long-lasting HIV treatments.

In a new study published in Nature Communications, American researchers used a technology called CRISPR to find 86 genes that may have a role in how HIV viruses multiply.

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