Freddie died on November 24, 1991. He had been ill for much of that year, his health declining. His final weeks were spent at home at One Garden Lodge in West Kensington, surrounded by his nearest and dearest. The inner circle of Mary Austin, Peter Freestone, Joe Fanelli and Jim Hutton were with him every day. Certain close friends and family were permitted to visit but Freddie also shut out other old friends.
This was not the case with his old Queen bandmates.
Brian May and Roger Taylor have both described emotional and upsetting visits to see their dying friend.
However, everyone who spent time with Freddie says the same thing – visits were not allowed to be upsetting or emotional, at least not in front of Freddie. Even in the final weeks, Freddie would be propped up in bed or occasionally downstairs, making jokes and shopping from catalogues.
So, where was John Deacon?
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Firstly, it was evident how sensitive John was. To see his friend, the man he card about and who had shielded him, in such a state would have been very difficult.
But this was true of all Freddie’s friends.
What is more likely is that John and Freddie knew John would not be able to mask his emotions if he visited and this was something Freddie would not allow. Mary Austin once commented that if someone so much as welled up around him at that time, Freddie would avoid them afterwards.
Freddie was not insensitive or uncaring, it was the opposite. It made his own burden harder if he saw how much others were suffering. His mother, Jer Bulsara described just that in their last meeting.