Freddie Mercury, the enigmatic frontman of the rock band Queen, was captured in his final moments before his death in a series of poignant photographs. Today marks the 32nd anniversary of the iconic singer's passing.
Taken in his backyard in West Kensington, these images show Mercury, visibly frail, hidden behind bushes and flowers. At the time, only his closest circle knew the severity of his illness: part of his foot had been amputated, his vision was failing, and he required assistance to walk.
Mercury, known for his exuberant stage presence, was a private person offstage. He rarely gave interviews, and when he did, he was reserved and reticent.
One of his few public statements highlighted this dichotomy: "Many are disappointed when they meet me in real life. They expect me to be like I am on stage, but I'm not," Mercury had said.
Despite his private nature, Mercury was known for hosting extravagant parties for friends and industry colleagues. He famously celebrated his 39th birthday in Munich in 1985, where he asked guests to dress as their idols; Mercury himself dressed as his flamboyant stage persona.
Mercury's sexuality was a topic of intrigue. He was engaged to Mary Austin but was rumored to be homosexual. Although he never openly discussed his attraction to men, he didn't hide it either. It's known that in the 1980s, before settling down with hairdresser Jim Hutton, Mercury led a fast-paced life. He and Hutton, who were not married but wore rings as a symbol of their commitment, lived monogamously until Mercury's death.
Mary Austin remained an integral part of Mercury's life. They were engaged in their youth, and until his death, she was one of the most important people in his life. "All my lovers asked me why they couldn't replace Mary, but it's just impossible. The only friend I have is Mary, and I don't want anyone else. To me, she was my wife," Mercury had expressed.
It was Austin who informed Mercury's parents and sister of his death over the phone. Following his wishes, Austin received the urn with his ashes and has never disclosed where she spread them.
Mercury's legacy continues to resonate, with Queen's music and his extraordinary life captivating fans worldwide.
Watch the last picture here: