When was Freddie Mercury diagnosed with HIV?

Mercury: "Help me fight the disease"

On November 23, 1991 a message appeared that amazed millions of people worldwide: "After following the huge speculation in the press over the past two weeks, I would like to confirm that I have tested positive for HIV and have AIDS", it said in it.

And that now the time has come "to tell my friends and fans around the world the truth, and I hope that everyone will stand by my doctors and all those around the world in the fight against this terrible disease."

Mercury died of pneumonia

Just one day later, Freddie Mercury, singer, guitarist, keyboardist and spiritus rector of the English rock band Queen died at the age of 45 in his house in the London borough of Kensington of pneumonia.

It is true that other celebrities, such as the actor Rock Hudson (1985), the photographer Robert Maplethorpe (1986) and the artist Keith Haring (1990), died of AIDS before Mercury and others followed him, such as the dancer Rudolf Nureyev (1993) and the tennis player Arthur Ashe (1993) and the photographer Herb Ritts (2002) after.

But nobody's death brought the issue of AIDS as much attention as that of the Queen singer who died 20 years ago.

Freddie Mercury was born on September 5, 1946 on the East African island of Zanzibar as Farrokh Bulsara. His parents come from India and belong to the Parsees community. The boy receives music lessons, appears in the school choir, plays in the school theater and in a first band, the "Hectics".

In the turmoil of the revolution, Freddie, as his classmates call them, fled with his parents from Zanzibar to London in 1964, where he studied graphic design at the Ealing College of Art, where he graduated.

In London, Freddie Bulsara met the musicians Brian May and Roger Taylor, with whom he founded the band Queen in 1970. In the same year he took his stage name Mercury.

Big part in the band's meteoric rise

After his long-term partnership with Mary Austin, to whom he remained closely connected until the end of his life, he publicly acknowledged his homosexuality for the first time, which he then flaunted not only during his appearances but also in his videos, sometimes openly, sometimes ironically.

Freddie Mercury has undoubtedly played a major role in the meteoric rise of his band, which sped from success to success in the 70s and 80s. "Radio Ga Ga", "I want to break free", "We will rock you", "We are the champions" - many of their songs are now part of the collective memory.

"For me, love is like Russian roulette"

Mercury savored the fame to the fullest throughout his life, which in addition to drugs always included changing lovers. "For me, love is like Russian roulette," he is supposed to have said once. "I can't control that."

In the spring of 1987, Freddie Mercury tested positive for HIV, which he kept a secret from his inner circle, even when he broke out with AIDS. Even his band members reportedly didn't learn the whole truth about his health until January 1991.

When he died on November 24, 1991 at 7 p.m., millions of people around the world mourned him. Six months later, on April 20, 1992, a concert broadcast live around the world - the Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert for Aids - is being staged in London's Wembley Stadium, the proceeds of which go to the Mercury Phoenix Trust.

With the help of this fund, $ 15 million has been invested in the fight against AIDS. On Lake Geneva, where the musician recorded many songs, a statue today commemorates him.