Freddie Mercury’s last days: ‘We carried him downstairs to fulfil his final wish’

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Freddie died at home in bed on November 24, 1991. He had refused to keep taking his AIDS medication, although he continued to take some painkillers. It is difficult to imagine the extraordinary man who had strutted and swaggered across thousands of stages and commanded entire stadiums, reduced to such a frail figure. Just four days before he died, the Queen icon made one last special request of his close group of friends who stayed with him day and night.  

Peter Freestone was Freddie’s PA and dear friend for over a decade.

He lived at the star’s West Kensington home, One Garden Lodge, along with Freddie’s partner Jim Hutton and his former partner (and chef) Joe Fanelli.

Freddie’s former girlfriend Mary Austin (to whom he left the house) and a select group of trusted members of the ‘inner circle’ were the only other people allowed to see the singer without express permission during those final weeks and then days.

Peter described the touching and beautiful moment the Queen icon asked to be carried from his bed.

Peter told Express Online: “Freddie was downstairs in Garden Lodge on the 20th November, as he wanted to see some of his artworks for one last time.

“Terry carried him down the stairs, but he walked around the sitting room and Japanese room, with one of us supporting him.

“He commented on how and when he had acquired a few of the pieces. Of course, there was a quiet atmosphere in the house during those last days, but Freddie remained the Freddie we knew until the end.”

Terry Giddings was Freddie’s bodyguard and chaffeur.

Freddie had often spoken in typically colourful fashion about his treasured art and furniture collection.

He once said: “I’m trailing over my Lalique and Galle vases – I’m up to my ears now. I mean, a lot of people used to say my house was like a museum, but now I’m beginning t agree with them. It’s getting very silly.”

He joked how he shared the problem with friend Elton John: “I love those stories about Elton, where he had that problem where people were staying at his home at the weekends, in his spare rooms…

“They’d look under the bed and there would be Rembrandts and other such masters. It’s true. With me, it’s my Japanese prints that are just getting ridiculous.”

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Elton himself described one of his last visits to see the bedbound Freddie at home, to find him still buying yet more art over the phone.

Elton said: “Freddie loved collecting Japanese art and collecting it at auction. So while he was dying he was still buying things at auction.

“He would be surrounded on a bed and there’d be medicine all around him. Medicine cabinets and pills and auction catalogues.

“It was astonishing. I thought, ‘This is amazing. This man has such a love of life. He’s not thinking about dying whatsoever. He’s still thinking about art.’ He showed no fear to me about dying. No fear or sadness.”

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