Freddie Mercury was cruelly taken from the world too soon but was surrounded by loved and trusted friends, as well as his ex-girlfriend Mary Austin and partner Jim Hutton, in his final months. As his health faded, the star made a special effort one sunny afternoon at One Garden Lodge, West Kensington, surprising Jim, who was taking photographs of the flowers outside. Despite his increasing frailty, the Queen legend even took the trouble to style his hair and select a lovely outfit, even though he had always preferred to relax at home in casual clothes throughout his life. Nervous about how he looked, Freddie also asked that the pictures not be taken too close. It is a fitting way to remember a star who was so full of life right until the very end.
Freddie always said he was bothered how people remembered him: « It’s up to them. When I’m dead, who cares? I don’t. » But he would not have wanted to be remembered diminished, pale and frail, as he appeared 18 months earlier at the 1990 BRITS in his last official public appearance.
Of course, his legend and legacy have lived on as one of the most dynamic, colourful and talented stars of all time. His indomitable spirit shines through in these final pictures of him smiling in the sunshine.
It seems perfect that he also has one of his beloved and faithful feline companions standing at his side. Freddie’s end was unbearably tragic but he was surrounded by love at all times, including friends, lovers and the six cats who he doted on.
Jim added: « He was so pale and drawn that he knew he didn’t look his best, but it didn’t matter a bit; of all the pictures I have of Freddie, those are the ones I love most. »
The pictures were taken on August 28, 1991, three months before the Queen icon passed away.
What is so touching is how much effort Freddie had clearly made in choosing a special outfit.
His close friend and live-in PA Peter Freestone described to Express Online how casual Freddie had always liked to be at home, rarely dressing up even in full health.
Peter said: « Freddie at home alone with us would be sitting in a mismatched tracksuit on the sofa watching Countdown. »
It is clear that the smart blue trousers and patterned floral shirt were chosen on purpose by Freddie. He wanted to look nice for the moment and for Jim. In doing so, he also left one last wonderful memory to the world.
It is also fitting one of his cats was there, too.
The star had at least ten over the years, starting with Tom and Jerry when he lived with Mary Austin. Six were living with him at the end – Delilah, Goliath, Lily, Miko, Oscar and Romeo.