According to his partner Jim Hutton, Mercury was diagnosed with AIDS shortly after Easter of 1987. Around that time, Mercury claimed in an interview to have tested negative for HIV. Despite the denials, the British press pursued the rampant rumours over the next few years, fuelled by Mercury's increasingly gaunt appearance, Queen's absence from touring, and reports from former lovers to various tabloid journals – by 1990 the rumours about Mercury's health were rife. At the 1990 Brit Awards held at the Dominion Theatre, London on 18 February, Mercury made his final public appearance on stage when he joined the rest of Queen to collect the Brit Award for Outstanding Contribution to Music. Towards the end of his life, he was routinely stalked by photographers, while the daily tabloid newspaper The Sun featured a series of articles claiming that he was seriously ill; notably in an article from November 1990 which featured an image of a haggard looking Mercury on the front page accompanied by the headline "It's official – Freddie is seriously ill".
However, Mercury and his inner circle of colleagues and friends, whom he felt he could trust, continually denied the stories, even after one front page article published on 29 April 1991, which showed Mercury appearing very haggard in what was by then a rare public appearance. Brian May confirmed in a 1993 interview that Mercury had informed the band of his illness much earlier. Filmed in May 1991, the music video for "These Are the Days of Our Lives" features a painfully thin Mercury, which are his final scenes in front of the camera.
These Are the Days of Our Lives was written largely by their drummer Roger Taylor, and is the eighth track on the band's 1991 album Innuendo. Keyboards were programmed by the four band members in the studio, and conga percussion (a synthesised conga) was recorded by their producer David Richards (although it was mimed in the video by Roger Taylor).
"These Are the Days of Our Lives" hearkens back to similarly themed 1975 Queen song "Love of My Life", twice using the line "I still love you". At the end of the song, Mercury simply speaks those words, as he would often do in live versions of "Love of My Life."
The accompanying video was the last to feature front man Freddie Mercury as he was in the final stages of his battle with AIDS. The majority of the footage used in the video was filmed by Rudi Dolezal and Hannes Rossacher of DoRo Productions on 30 May 1991.
For the promotional video, Mercury, Taylor and John Deacon were present at the shoot, with additional footage of guitarist Brian May filmed some weeks later and edited into the footage, as he was out of the country on a radio promotional tour at the time of the principal film shoot. The video was shot in black and white to hide the full extent of Mercury's faltering condition from AIDS, following rumours about his health had been at the centre of much media and public speculation for over a year, following on from its use in the video for "I'm Going Slightly Mad" earlier in 1991.
Colour footage of the band filming the video later emerged, showing just how frail Mercury really looked, and justifying the band's decision to film in black and white out of respect for him. In this music video, Mercury is wearing a waistcoat with pictures of cats that was made for him by a close friend, and which he loved. With his knowing farewell look straight at the camera, Mercury whispers "I still love you" as the song ends, which are his last words on camera.
After the conclusion of his work with Queen in June 1991, Mercury retired to his home in Kensington. His former partner, Mary Austin, had been a particular comfort in his final years, and in the last few weeks of his life made regular visits to his home to look after him. Near the end of his life, Mercury was starting to lose his sight, and his deterioration was so overpowering he could not get out of bed. Due to his worsening condition, Mercury decided to hasten his death by refusing to take his medication, and just continued taking pain killers.
On 22 November 1991, Mercury called Queen's manager Jim Beach over to his Kensington home, to discuss a public statement. The next day, 23 November, the following announcement was made to the international press on behalf of Mercury:
“Following the enormous conjecture in the press over the last two weeks, I wish to confirm that I have been tested HIV positive and have AIDS. I felt it correct to keep this information private to date to protect the privacy of those around me. However, the time has come now for my friends and fans around the world to know the truth and I hope that everyone will join with me, my doctors, and all those worldwide in the fight against this terrible disease. My privacy has always been very special to me and I am famous for my lack of interviews. Please understand this policy will continue.”
A little over 24 hours after issuing that statement, Mercury died on the evening of 24 November 1991 at the age of 45, at his home in Kensington. 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.
On 27 November 1991 was Mercury's funeral. Mercury was cremated at Kensal Green Cemetery, West London, with the whereabouts of his ashes believed to be known only to Mary Austin.
In his will, Mercury left the vast 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. Hutton was involved in a 2000 biography of Mercury, Freddie Mercury, the Untold Story, and also gave an interview for The Times for what would have been Mercury's 60th birthday.
Not much is known about Jim Hutton; he was a very private, kind and gentle man, who was not accustom to Freddie’s fame, and was as uncomfortable with the attention Queen was getting as Freddie was. Also contrary to popular belief, Freddie Mercury was a shy, quiet and guarded person who rarely gave interviews because he was awkward with discussing his personal and even professional life with people he did not know or trust.
Same went for Jim Hutton.
Same went for Jim Hutton.
Jim and Freddie met at a bar in 1984. Freddie offered to buy him a drink, and Jim obliged. He didn’t recognize Freddie until his friend said, “Hey, Freddie Mercury is behind you.” Jim drank his drink and the two talked for a while, but nothing happened for another year. About eighteen months later, the two met up again at the same bar, and the same situation went down - Freddie bought Jim a drink, but this time, they got together and Jim ended up moving in the Garden Lodge with Freddie about two years later.
When Freddie was diagnosed with AIDS in 1987, he offered Jim an exit on their relationship. He told Jim he would understand if he left. In a Freddie Mercury documentary, Jim recalls telling him, “I love you, Freddie - I’m not going anywhere.” And he didn’t; Jim stayed with Freddie until he died. He nursed him, cared for him, and was there when he took his last breath.
Jim Hutton died on 1 January 2010 from cancer, or as Brian May, Queen’s guitarist, wrote on his homepage that Jim died from a smoking-related illness.