In the spring of 1991, the band knew Freddie was facing the end. They put themselves on standby in Montreux, ready to record when Freddie felt able to come in, for an hour or two at a time.

“Freddie still had astonishing power in his lungs at that point. I really don’t know where it came from. The song ‘Mother Love’ starts low and gentle, but Freddie chose to push himself and go higher. We looked at each other and knew there was a mountain to climb. That’s when the vodka really went down, Stolichnaya, ice cold. He said, ‘ I will hit these notes.’ And he did! It was a wonderful performance.”

Roger Taylor is a particular admirer of this song, he said, “I’m hearing Freddie’s voice getting weaker. But I mean he is still hitting all of the notes. There’s an absolutely spine-chilling note in the middle of ‘Mother Love’ (Out in the city, in the cold world outside, I don’t want pity, just a safe place to hide”) which is just a great bit of singing.

Brian continued, “Freddie was so exhausted by the effort, We got as far as the penultimate verse and he said, ‘I’m not feeling that great, I think I should call it a day now. I’ll finish it when I come back, next time.’ But, of course, he didn’t ever come back to the studio after that.”

“Freddie found an amazing tranquillity, and I never really heard him complain…
I never heard him go, ‘this is really awful, my life is shit, I’m going to die.’ Never, never, never.
He was an amazingly strong person.”

The other members of the band worked on while Mercury rested in his apartment. “We always ate together. That was lovely. Then the day came when he said, ‘Look, I’m going back to London for a while.’ It was always ‘a while’. Nothing was ever ‘the end’.”

He went back to London for the last time in early November 1991 and died at his home in Kensington on the 24th. Brian was in London when he heard the news, along with the rest of Queen.

“𝐖𝐞 𝐰𝐞𝐫𝐞 𝐚𝐥𝐥 𝐰𝐨𝐧𝐝𝐞𝐫𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐢𝐟 𝐢𝐭 𝐰𝐚𝐬 𝐚𝐧 𝐢𝐥𝐥𝐮𝐬𝐢𝐨𝐧, 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐡𝐞 𝐰𝐚𝐬 𝐠𝐨𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐭𝐨 𝐛𝐞 𝐜𝐮𝐫𝐞𝐝. 𝐘𝐨𝐮 𝐜𝐚𝐧’𝐭 𝐫𝐞𝐚𝐥𝐥𝐲 𝐭𝐚𝐤𝐞 𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐬𝐞 𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐧𝐠𝐬 𝐢𝐧 𝐩𝐫𝐨𝐩𝐞𝐫𝐥𝐲. 𝐓𝐡𝐞𝐧 𝐰𝐞 𝐠𝐨𝐭 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐩𝐡𝐨𝐧𝐞 𝐜𝐚𝐥𝐥. 𝐈𝐭 𝐰𝐚𝐬 𝐬𝐮𝐫𝐫𝐞𝐚𝐥. 𝐄𝐯𝐞𝐧 𝐭𝐡𝐨𝐮𝐠𝐡 𝐰𝐞 𝐡𝐚𝐝 𝐛𝐞𝐞𝐧 𝐩𝐫𝐞𝐩𝐚𝐫𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐟𝐨𝐫 𝐬𝐮𝐜𝐡 𝐚 𝐥𝐨𝐧𝐠 𝐭𝐢𝐦𝐞, 𝐢𝐭 𝐬𝐭𝐢𝐥𝐥 𝐝𝐢𝐝𝐧’𝐭 𝐟𝐞𝐞𝐥 𝐩𝐨𝐬𝐬𝐢𝐛𝐥𝐞. 𝐖𝐞 𝐚𝐥𝐥 𝐠𝐨𝐭 𝐭𝐨𝐠𝐞𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐫 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐭𝐚𝐥𝐤𝐞𝐝 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐡𝐚𝐝 𝐚 𝐝𝐫𝐢𝐧𝐤 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐧 𝐬𝐚𝐰 𝐢𝐭 𝐚𝐧𝐧𝐨𝐮𝐧𝐜𝐞𝐝 𝐨𝐧 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐓𝐕. 𝐒𝐭𝐫𝐚𝐧𝐠𝐞𝐥𝐲 𝐞𝐧𝐨𝐮𝐠𝐡, 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐰𝐚𝐬 𝐰𝐡𝐞𝐧 𝐢𝐭 𝐬𝐞𝐞𝐦𝐞𝐝 𝐫𝐞𝐚𝐥 𝐟𝐨𝐫 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐟𝐢𝐫𝐬𝐭 𝐭𝐢𝐦𝐞. 𝐘𝐨𝐮 𝐭𝐡𝐨𝐮𝐠𝐡𝐭, ‘𝐎𝐡 𝐦𝐲 𝐆𝐨𝐝, 𝐡𝐞 𝐫𝐞𝐚𝐥𝐥𝐲 𝐡𝐚𝐬 𝐠𝐨𝐧𝐞 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐞𝐯𝐞𝐫𝐲𝐛𝐨𝐝𝐲 𝐤𝐧𝐨𝐰𝐬 𝐧𝐨𝐰. 𝐈𝐭 𝐜𝐚𝐧’𝐭 𝐛𝐞 𝐭𝐚𝐤𝐞𝐧 𝐛𝐚𝐜𝐤’.” – Brian May

Roger Taylor said, “The day Freddie died we spent the whole night at my house just trying to make sense of it. It hit us very hard. We were very angry and we had to stick up for our friend, for our best friend. I became fixated with the idea of giving him one hell of a send off – and it was a wonderful day. The warmth was infinite.”