In October 1986 the British press reported that Mercury had his blood tested for HIV/AIDS at a Harley Street clinic. A reporter for The Sun, Hugh Whittow, questioned Mercury about the story at Heathrow Airport as he was returning from a trip to Japan. Mercury denied he had a sexually transmitted disease. According to his partner Jim Hutton, Mercury was diagnosed with AIDS shortly after Easter of 1987. Around that time, Mercury claimed in an interview to have tested negative for HIV. Despite the denials, the British press pursued the rampant rumours over the next few years, fuelled by Mercury’s increasingly gaunt appearance, Queen’s absence from touring and reports from former lovers to various tabloid journals – by 1990 the rumours about Mercury’s health were rife. At the 1990 Brit Awards held at the Dominion Theatre, London, on 18 February, a visibly frail Mercury made his final public appearance on stage when he joined the rest of Queen to collect the Brit Award for Outstanding Contribution to Music. Towards the end of his life, he was routinely stalked by photographers, while daily tabloid newspaper The Sun featured a series of articles claiming that he was seriously ill; notably in an article from November 1990 that featured an image of a haggard-looking Mercury on the front page accompanied by the headline, “It’s official – Freddie is seriously ill.”
Queen – Friends Will Be Friends.
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