Elton John shares tear-jerking story about Freddie Mercury’s final days: ‘I was overcome’

Freddie Mercury: Elton John tells tearful story about singer's final days

Today (24 November) marks the 30th anniversary of the death of Queen lead singer Freddie Mercury.

Mercury, the playfully decadent showman, passed away on 24 November, 1991, of complications from AIDS aged just 45.

In the decades since his death, a rafter of celebrities, loved ones and devoted fans have lead tear-jerking tributes to Mercury.

Elton John, one of Mercury’s closest friends, spoke out about his final days in his book Love is the Cure: On Life, Loss, and the End of AIDS, which was released in 2013.

In moving final gesture, Freddie Mercury gave Elton John a Christmas present after his death

The “Candle in the Wind” singer said he was “devastated” when the “Don’t Stop Me Now” musician revealed to him he had AIDS. Mercury was diagnosed in 1987 but kept it a secret for as long as he could, both from those in his inner circle and fans.

“I’d seen what the disease had done to so many of my other friends,” he explained in the book.

“I knew exactly what it was going to do to Freddie. As did he.

“He knew death, agonising death, was coming.”

Elton John, at Freddie Mercury’s funeral at West London Crematorium, 27th November 1991. (Photo by Nigel Wright/Mirrorpix/Getty Images)

But Mercury, ever bold and mercurial, was determined to keep spirits high by carrying on performing even has his health withered, John said.

Always “profoundly generous”, John said that Mercury “truly lived for others” even up to his final days.

Even at Christmas after Mercury’s death, John opened his front door to find a friend of his carrying a present wrapped in a pillowcase from Mercury.

“Here was this beautiful man, dying from AIDS, and in his final days, he had somehow managed to find me a lovely Christmas present,” John wrote.

Inside the present was a painting by Henry Scott Tuke – a British impressionist artist that John was a keen collector and fan of.

Tucked in the pillowcase was a note addressed to “Sharon” from “Melina”, which were drag queen pet names the two had given to each other years earlier.

“Dear Sharon, I thought you’d like this. Love, Melina,” the letter read. “Happy Christmas.”

“I was overcome, 44-years-old at the time, crying like a child,” John said.