Freddie died at home at Garden Lodge in the evening of November 24. 1991. The only people with him every day over the final weeks were his partner Jim Hutton, his PA and friend Peter Freestone, his ex-boyfriend Joe Fanelli and ex-girlfriend Mary Austin. Hutton, Freestone and Fanelli all lived with Freddie, while Mary was nearby. In the early hours of that morning, he had slipped into a coma but Hutton has described in distressing detail what happened just before that, during Freddie’s final moments of consciousness.
Freestone has only ever discussed details of Freddie’s spirits. Hutton, in his book Mercury and Me, goes into far greater detail.
Much of it is rather vivid and distressing, so do not read on if you will find it upsetting.
There has been some criticism of Hutton sharing such painful details, but even Brian May has revealed some of the most graphic aspects of Freddie’s suffering, including losing his foot.
Hutton describes the awful moment he thinks Freddie’s bone broke on that final morning.
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Hutton wrote: “Freddie woke up again at six in the morning and uttered what were to be his last two words: ‘Pee, pee!’ He wanted to be helped to the loo.
“He looked terribly weak and I had to carry him. As I lowered him back on to the bed I heard a deafening crack. It sounded like one of Freddie’s bones breaking, cracking like the branch of a tree.
“He screamed out in pain and went into a convulsion.
“I yelled for Joe. I needed him to pin Freddie to the bed to stop him injuring himself…
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“He said: ‘Freddie, calm down. Freddie, calm down.’ Then Freddie’s hand shot up and went straight for Joe’s throat. He was like a drowning man clutching for air.
“Joe freed himself from Freddie’s grip and eventually he calmed him down. Then, exhausted by the strain, Freddie promptly fell asleep.”
Except, it sounds like the possible broken bone triggered an attack which sent Freddie’s exhausted and weakened system into a coma.
The pair then called Freestone who describes what he saw when he entered Freddie’s room.
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Peter Freestone wrote: “At half-past-five in the morning on Sunday, the phone extension by my bed rang. I could tell it was an internal call by the ringing sound. This particular dawn call was from Joe. He sounded very anxious and asked me to come straight over to Freddie’s room.
“I didn’t have the courage to ask if he was dead. I just put the phone down and threw some clothes on. When I got to Freddie’s room, I found Freddie had slipped into a coma. He had had an attack of rigors (severe chills and violent shaking). He was lying very stiffly, his head at an awkward angle and his eyes were staring into the corner of the room behind him.
“There were no signs that he was aware of our presence, even though we tried talking to him and gently shaking him.”
No other mention has even been made of the broken bone. Did it really happen?
Freestone called Freddie’s doctor and friend, GP Gordon Atkinson, who administered morphine. Freddie never revived.
Atkinson’s signature is also on the death certificate which lists the cause of death as Bronchopneumonia, a side effect of the collapse of the star’s immune system caused by AIDS.
There is no mention of any broken bones on any official or medical documents and no other accounts of Freddie’s death include that detail.
The time details also differ, with Hutton saying Freddie had woken up at 6am wanting the bathroom, but Freestone saying he was called to the room at 5.30am after the collapse. But it is perfectly understandable that nobody had kept an accurate record of the time while dealing with the crisis and caring for their beloved friend and partner.