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1991: 'Freddie is my idol'
For 20 years Freddie Mercury's band Queen entertained millions of fans worldwide with a succession of ground-breaking hits.

The star had all the right ingredients for a rock legend: great musical talent, a taste for the bizarre and almost unrivalled showmanship.

The singer is thought to have contracted Aids two years before his death, but the serious decline in his health was not widely publicised.

Freddie Mercury's announcement on 23 November 1991 that he was HIV Positive stunned his fans. He died the following day.

This is a selection of some of your memories and tributes.

I was ill with flu in July 1985 and watched 15 minutes of brilliance at Live Aid. I had never really heard of Queen, but on the Monday after I went into Our Price records and asked the man behind the counter for a song by Queen called "Mama just killed a man".

He burst out laughing and pointed out "Greatest Hits" and the "Works". Within 3 months I owned every album! All my friends and workmates new I would be gutted on that Monday morning in 1991. I was. What a superb showman. "Only the good die young".
Jason, UK

I first saw Queen as an 8-year-old at Stafford Bingley hall in 1976. Little did I know that this supergroup would have such a large influence on my life ahead.

I saw them on every tour they did that included UK dates from that year on.

In 1986 I bought 4 tickets for what turned out to be the final curtain for Queen at Knebworth Park.

While in my local a man whom I'd known since I was a child asked me if I'd got tickets for Knebworth. Upon replying "yes" he asked if he could buy one, and would I take his daughter with me to the show. Obviously being a gentlemen and knowing how attractive his daughter was I said yes.

I have to thank Queen for playing such a major part in my life.
Mark, UK
What a fantastic day we had at Knebworth, a truly epic performance which once again showed how and why Queen were and still are the greatest live act ever.

Anyway, after the concert I started dating this girl and we eventually married in August 1992.

I can remember that Sunday the 24th November 1991 (after all, it was my birthday) reading the news that he'd contracted Aids.

I presumed that he'd have time on his side and they may come up with drugs to prolong his life until a cure was found. Then on the Monday morning hearing the news on the radio that he'd passed away the night before.

Stunned silence and disbelief was the only thing that hit me.

A long time has passed since 1991 and I'm happy to say that my 8 year old son is crazy about Queen and we took him to Birmingham to see Brian, Roger and Paul Rogers in May at the NEC. It was very moving when we all sang Love of my Life because there was no Freddie on the stage just an empty stool where he should have been sitting.

I have to thank Queen for playing such a major part in my life. Who knows, if it hadn't been for Knebworth I might not have married and ended up with 2 fantasic kids.
Mark, UK

I remember going to a Cult concert in Manchester the day he died, and Ian Astbury dedicated Edie (Ciao baby) to him. It was a tear jerking moment. I grew up with Queen, and waited eagerly for every release when it came along. He should have had many more years producing great rock music! He's sadly missed.
Matthew, UK

I remember hearing the news at my then girlfriend's house. I was a student in Leicester at the time and Queen were the band I had really got into in my late teens. I was lucky enough to see them play live at St James's Park, Newcastle on the Magic Tour and it is, to this day, the best live gig i have ever seen. Freddie was a legend and the fact that Queen remain so popular and influential to this day proves that The Show Must Go On ...
Neil, UK

I remember the day as if it was yesterday. I was in my bedroom listening to the Queen II album with the Television on (sound turned off) there were pictures of Freddie on the TV but I didn't think twice about it. By the time I turned the volume up on the TV I had missed the story.

I then heard my mum on the landing, when I looked at her she said, "Have you heard? I'm sorry." I just knew instantly that Freddie had passed away.

Though Freddie may not be here in body his music and memories will live forever.
Stewart, UK
That following week at college almost everyone was wearing Queen t-shirts etc.

I first got into Queen after hearing Killer Queen at a friends house back in '83. I have never looked back since.

Though Freddie may not be here in body his music and memories will live forever.

Thank you Freddie, Brian, Roger & John for sheer happiness you provided for all you fans past, present and future.

God bless Queen!
Stewart, UK

I was on an exercise with the army in Germany at the time. I was stood by the back door of my APC, washing the breakfast plates when it came over the radio that Freddie had died. A very very sad day. I went to see "We Will Rock You" last week. Cried like a baby for most of it with a mixture of joy and sadness. A wonderful man who is very missed by all.
Bill Thornhill, UK

Rod McKenzie's first words on his 8:00am Radio One news report that morning will forever stick in my mind - "Freddie Mercury is Dead."

And only 24 hours after he had finally admitted what everyone had already suspected.

He suffered from AIDS. He can never be replaced, and his music will live forever.
John Yates, UK

I can remember the day as if it was yesterday.

I woke at 6am, listened to the news and the radio station followed it with "Who wants to live forever" and "We are the champions".

I have to admit to getting quite emotional as I listened.

Having grown up with Queen and Freddie's music, it was a huge shock to hear that Freddie was dead.

Although I never knew him, I felt as if he was a part of my life.

At least his music lives on to remind us all of the enormous talent he had.
Fiona, UK

I didn't really like Queen's music, but I felt awful when I heard that Freddie had died.

Rock music needs larger-than-life characters like him. Someone to be flamboyant, outrageous and 100% charismatic.

He was great for all those reasons, and grabbed the headlines and attention of everyone.

His death from AIDS made everyone more aware of this hideous disease, but his death still feels like a very personal blow.
Nick, UK

This is one event where I can remember exactly where I was - on a gap year and on a coach with a load of fellow backpackers somewhere in the North Island of New Zealand.

We got the news by way of the International Express which was pored over each week for news from home.

There were no avowed Queen die-hards among us or our fellow travellers from around the world but the sadness was palpable, not just for his death but for the manner of it.

A great showman had been lost and HIV/AIDS had not gone away when the adverts stopped.
Giles, UK

I'd been a member of the fan club since Jan 1990 (still am) and I remember my mum coming home on the Saturday night, about midnight, and telling me that he'd announced he was ill.

I cried my eyes out, I was only 15.

I spent the next day talking to friends and crying more and then on the Monday Mum came running into my bedroom to tell me he'd died.

I remember running into her room to see the TV, then I don't remember much (I know I didn't stop crying for a long time) until later that morning, Nina Mishkov was crying on daytime TV.

I went to the tribute in the April, I cried even more, though it was a wonderful show.

I still miss him, sometimes more than I did back then. I just wish I'd been old enough in 1986 to see them live. Freddie is truly missed, no-one can ever replace him.
Jenny, UK

I was devastated by the news of his death.

As a long time Queen fan, he was always the legend and hero to, not only me, but to many people around my age.

I went down to Wembley next year to attend his tribute concert and it was a great climax when I saw a huge crowd becoming one and praise his life and talent.

His music and memory lives forever in our heart. Thank you for your music and performance, Freddie!
Hattie S, Japan

I have been a dedicated follower of Queen and Freddie since the early eighties.

One of the my best childhood memories is of watching him on TV, performing flamboyantly on stage, with my grandmother laughing at his imaginary guitar-playing.

I grieved as if for someone I actually knew
Ana, Portugal
I watched in awe their performance at Live Aid and the concert at Wembley Stadium in 1986.

I bought all their records, I memorised the lyrics, I had posters all over the room. I used to discuss their music for hours on end with a friend.

When Freddie died I was in my first year at university and I was devastated. I grieved as if for someone I actually knew.

And now, 13 years later, I think his memory lives on, in his music and in the hearts of those he touched with it.
Ana, Portugal

He was an icon incomparable to any other rock star.

The combination of his fabulous song-writing skills, his gracious podium performance, his eccentric appearance and his beyond-perfect voice can't be found in any other musician of the present, past, and - probably - for a long time in the future.

Freddie, thank you!
Casper, The Netherlands

I was 19 when Freddie died - it was the first thing I heard on the Radio One news that day. My abiding memory is that at the time Greatest Hits II was out and there was a huge billboard poster near where I worked with the band in a still from the "I Want to Break Free" video.

I've always liked their stuff and always watched the TV programmes and documentaries, but I've been a hardcore Queen fan since Roger Taylor and Brian May rocked Buckingham Palace in 2002.

Within months I owned every album and knew them back to front, and subsequently I met my boyfriend, who had the good fortune to see them live in their 1970s heyday.
Kaz, UK

I'm from Sri Lanka, thousand of miles away from the UK and I live in a completely different culture. But such a distance has made no barrier to enjoy his works. I trust true art has no boundaries - it speaks to the whole world and remains timeless.

I was so inspired by his great Barcelona and Too Much Love Will Kill You. I'm a fan of Freddie Mercury and proud of him because his music is unique. It's a shock and a disaster to lose such a person at that young age.
Prasad, Sri Lanka

One day without his voice is one day not fully lived
AJ van Gent, Netherlands
After 12 years, almost every day you can hear music composed by Freddie Mercury which still sounds modern. I must hear his voice every day - one day without his voice is one day not fully lived. Only the good die young.
AJ van Gent, Netherlands

I was only seven when Freddie died, and I don't really remember it. What I do remember are a lot of songs from that period, like Innuendo and The Show Must Go On.

I've been a hardcore Queen fan for about four years now, and the one thing I've always regretted was the fact I would never be able to meet Freddie, or see Queen fully live.

I will always remember Freddie as the strong, brave artist.
Arjan Pijper, Netherlands

I was 11-years-old when Freddie died. He was a GREAT man. We will never forget him. The show must go on!
Alicja, Poland

I grew up listening to Queen's music. They were my favourite band throughout my teens. And then in my first year of university, Freddie died. I was utterly distraught. I went to lectures on that Monday morning, but I was like a zombie.

It wasn't until the following April when I went to the tribute concert at Wembley that I finally said goodbye. I never knew that the death of someone I had never met could affect me so deeply. We all still miss you Freddie!
Gareth Kingston, UK

Nobody was better than Freddie at holding an audience in the palm of his hand
Gary, England
I was lucky enough to see Queen live five times. I have also seen all the other major acts of our time: Bowie, U2, McCartney, Rolling Stones, The Who, Floyd, etc. But nobody was better than Freddie at holding an audience in the palm of his hand, and giving nothing but true-blue class entertainment.

He will be remembered forever as the best showman the world has ever known. At the tribute concert in 1992, the overwhelming passion of the crowd to sing every note the way Freddie did is a testament to how this country is proud of what he achieved.

If you listen to the music today, all you remember is the good times of life. You may laugh, or you may cry, but either way you will always feel that it all meant something. Long live Freddie.
Gary, England

Having grown up listening to Queen (my first record was Bohemian Rhapsody) I finally got to see them in 1986 at Knebworth park. What a show - the memories of that day have stayed fresh in my mind for 17 years now and it still rates as one of the best days of my life.

Freddie was magical on stage and would get the crowd going with his personality and musical talent. The day he died was just awful and was one of the times in life where you always know where you were when you heard the news.

I miss him, and my son, whom was not even born until 1992 is an avid fan just proving that his legacy will live on.
Ian Colledge, England

I was 12-years-old when Freddie died, and I remember going into school on the Monday morning and seeing everybody in the class just getting on with their lives like nothing had happened!

I don't know what I expected to happen, but it was hard to take because nobody seemed to care.
David Moody, UK

The secret of Mercury's showmanship was that he really knew how to involve the audience and turn a concert into a real show
Henry, UK
I had the good fortune to see Queen play live twice. The first was in Brighton in about 1980, the next at Leeds, Elland Road in 1983.

The secret of Mercury's showmanship was that he really knew how to involve the audience and turn a concert into a real show. In fact, I always thought that his songs worked better as show tunes than rock songs, an opinion confirmed when I saw the excellent show We Will Rock You a few weeks ago.
Henry, UK

I was 14 when Freddie died, and miss him to this day. He made a huge difference in my life through his music and will always be special to me. There will never be another like him. Thank you, Freddie, for all the joy you gave us.
Kristin, USA

I don't have memories of when he died because I was only nine-years-old, but when I watch his videos now, I can see they are just the best of the best.
Kevork Frengtul Zenopian, Bulgaria

Freddie you were, you are and you'll be the best singer I have ever heard. You are still in my heart. Goodbye, my best friend.
Federico, Italy

Freddie... I still love you.
Luca, Italy

I was only three when Freddie died. About two years ago I started to like Queen. Now Freddie is my idol. I can't understand why he had to die. Freddie Mercury and Queen are always number one to me.
Juha Kaijalainen, Finland

I was only eight-years-old when Freddie died. I grew up with his music. I adored his voice - it is incredible. The first clip of his which I saw was Barcelona. From that time I became his biggest fan!

I think that when Freddie admitted that he has Aids, he taught us all not to fear to admit that we have problems and fight it. Also he made us to se that this disease is real. Freddie Mercury is a legend and this legend will live for ever in side of us.
Ata, Lithuania

Queen still rock the world!
Alessia, Italy
I'm 19 and I discovered Queen only after Freddie's death, but he still gives me so much. He will always be the one and only King!

Queen still rock the world!
Alessia, Italy

Being a huge Freddie (and Queen) fan I was absolutely devastated when Freddie died. I will never forget that day, I was in limbo.

Friends and family didn't quite know what to do! I think they thought, "It's just another star", but his music means so much to me and even now has got me through many a bad day!

Sometimes when I play certain songs a tear or two might be shed. On the anniversary every year I used to go to his house and lay flowers but haven't been able to for the past couple because of moving too far away.

I was 12-years-old when Freddie died. The year before I had become a great fan of Queen. It was a great shock to hear that Freddie died that day.

We will miss him and his voice. Freddie I hope you're between the angels up there.
Patricia, Netherlands

When Freddie passed on, I was pregnant with my first child, and my husband was very ill with terminal diabetes. I remember crying for weeks on end.

Almost two years to the day, my husband passed away from the diabetes, at the same age Freddie was. This is a very difficult time of year for me, for both men who I love and miss very much.

Some times, it is very hard for me to deal with this, but I go on as best as I can. I have Freddie's music, and my daughter to comfort me. She is a constant reminder of both of these men.
Rebecca Romero, USA

I had my last name changed to Mercury so that I may carry his name forever
Robert Mercury, US
There are not enough words to describe what an influence Freddie had on not only my life but the whole world. Musically, there was no-one to touch him, his sheer presence on stage was a wonder, his voice was just perfect, never out of tune and always fulfilling his best ability.

Freddie meant that much to me that I had my last name changed to Mercury so that I may carry his name forever. I will never forget you Freddie, I hope you are at peace and are happy once more, wherever you may be my friend.
Robert Mercury, US

I love Freddie since I was only 13. I continue to love him and his music actually. I think that if he would be alive now, he would be always the best singer; maybe he is the best still! Anyway his music will never die and he will stay always in the hearts of all his fans and above all in my heart!
Cristina, Italia

Queen was always the band of firsts for me. The first album I received as a gift (A Night At The Opera), the first album I bought as a consumer (Queen) and the very first concert I ever attended (19 September 1980 in Rosemont, Illinois).

I was a Brian May fan first and foremost, but when I saw Freddie live in concert, his theatrics amazed me. His voice was unreal and the way he controlled the crowd still moves me to this day.

I was working at a Chicago radio station when I got a phone call from my best friend. He told me Freddie had passed away. My heart sunk. I knew that I would never see my beloved group in their original form again.
Rich Torres, USA

Wherever you are, Freddie... keep singing!
Rodrigo, Chile
I have been a Queen fan and therefore a Mercury fan since I was 11. I am 26 now but these four guys still move me with their delicate and yet strong melodies. Freddie Mercury is one of the greatest musicians the world ever had.

He will be remembered for his music, and cheerful-energetic sad soul. Wherever you are, Freddie... keep singing!
Rodrigo, Chile

I was 19-years-old when Freddie passed away. I was so sad and profoundly moved by his passing although I only really knew the major Queen hits at that time.

After his death, I explored all of his works and have become a devoted Queen and Freddie Mercury fan. I wish I had done it sooner!

His death also encouraged me to pursue ways to help fight AIDS. He had a certain magic that others just do not have. He was one of those rare and extraordinary people who are completely unique and yet can strike a familiar cord with so many people.

There will never be another Freddie and the world is a sadder place for having lost his incredible genius. I miss you Freddie!
Patricia, USA

The first time I heard Freddie's voice it was when Queen released The Miracle... and I understood what the miracle was: it was Freddie! I was only 12-years-old, but I started to listen to Queen everyday and became a great fan of them! Now I'm 27, but I still cry when I think of Freddie... and today I'm crying.

Freddie I still love you!
Elisabetta, Italy

He was one of the best musicians to come out of England in its history! A true professional. I think a musical genius like him won't appear on earth for many more decades to come.
Alaye Julemonde, Turkey

I was only five when Freddie died but I have always been a fan of him and Queen. I remember Roger, Brian, John and Freddie receiving the award for best band of the 80s. Brian spoke, as by this stage Freddie was too ill. He is greatly missed and is a legend who will never die!
Sarah Jane, Scotland

We say farewell to one of the greatest rock legends ever. He will always be remembered for his flamboyant style and his magnificent voice. Magnifico Freddie, wherever you are. I'm sure your watching us now. listening to your music being played over and over again in peoples houses.
Victoria, England

Freddie - 12 years on you are still remembered by the world! R.I.P
Greg, England

I was only 14 when Freddie died, but I had listened to his music for years and had greatly admired him, his talent and the talent of Queen as a whole.

His voice was so astounding and the music of Queen is never out of my car. When I listen to him, he always makes me either smile or cry! Some people just leave an impact on you, and he did with me; his voice, his cheekiness and his showmanship.

I just wish his life could have carried on. He was before Robbie in singing 'Let me entertain you' after all, and boy Freddie, you certainly did that.
Rachel Davis, UK

I was only 10 when Freddie Mercury died. I was a big fan of Queen, I loved the music and was really impressed by Freddie's presence and flair. I have a very strong memory of when I heard that he had died - I cried inconsolably.
Becky, UK

I was a big fan of Queen and Freddie Mercury ever since I was six and my Dad would play Bohemian Rhapsody on full blast on the hi-fi. Me and my sister used to mime to the whole song.

I did actually get to see Freddie perform probably the best performance ever at Live Aid at Wembley Stadium on 15 July 1985.

He made the previous band - U2 - look like a bunch of amateurs such was his showmanship. Queen played 20 minutes medley which was simply unforgettable and I am glad looking back I was there to see it first hand.
Richard Hill, UK

I was 17 when Freddie passed away. I grew up on his music and I am now bringing up my children on his music. He had a certain flair something which bands today don't have. He could make a whole room/stadium come alive. Sadly gone but not forgotten. He is a kind of magic.

Freddie Mercury was one of the best showman in the UK if not the world. Queen could steal any rock show they went to, they just took Live Aid by storm.

When a band loses its lead singer then the band should stop. Other members of a band can be changed but the lead singer gives the band voice. We will always miss the great Freddie Mercury and Queen which also died when Freddie did 1971-1991.
George Baldry, England

After Freddies death there were two parties in my class (5th grade). You could either listen to Guns'n' Roses, or you'd be a Queen fan.

Today, a whole school life later, we listen to Guns and Roses and might give a slight head-nod. But if it's up to a Queen record like "We are the Champions", "Radio Ga Ga" or "Friends will be friends" my mates and I hit the dancefloor and celebrate youth, immortality and simply the finest music of all!
Chris, Munster, Germany

I was 19 and in college at the University of Humanities in Casablanca, Morocco. The news didn't make much sense at the time 'cause I wasn't much of a Queen fan.

That changed after that day and as it turned out, I have become a huge fan, to the extent that I became an expert in anything that has to do with the band. Finally this year, I got to fulfill the ultimate dream, seeing them live with Paul Rodgers.
Jawad Hidane, Morocco

I was in cairo when I heard of Freddie's death. It was as if time had stood still..but he lives on in our hearts and with his great music..I'm sure he's rocking in heaven.
Kooky, UK

I was born two years after Freddie Mercury's death, so I will never get to see him in concert or anything. I am an extremly huge fan of Freddie. It breaks my heart everyday to know what happend to him! Freddie is forever in our hearts!
Sara, USA

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Freddie Mercury shortly before he died
Freddie Mercury hid his illness for two years

Queen performing on the BBC's Top of the Pops
Queen entertained fans for two decades with a succession of hits

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