Queen: Roger Taylors heartbreaking biggest regret over Freddie Mercury

Queen perform Bohemian Rhapsody at Live Aid in 1985

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Taylor and bandmate Brian May have been busy this year celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the formation of Queen. They have both opened up about the band’s past, especially delighting fans with new anecdotes and testimonials to Mercury.  However, the drummer is also currently promoting his new solo album, Outsider, which was released on October 1. And in a powerful new interview, he talked about a deeply painful moment from his past.

Roger described the terrible day when Freddie died on November 24, 1991, from complications related to AIDS and HIV.

The star’s health had been declining since the previous year, but it had accelerated through the summer of 1991. He rarely permitted visitors in the final weeks, looked after by his constant inner circle of partner Jim Hutton, ex-girlfriend Mary Austin, PA Peter Freestone, ex-boyfriend Joe Fanelli and great friend Dave Clarke.

However, as the end approached, others close to the star would visit to potentially say goodbye. For Roger, this would prove especially heartbreaking.

He told The Big Issue: “I was literally on my way to see him, less than half a mile away, when they rang me in my car and told me he had gone. 

“I just stopped the car on Kensington High Street, in a kind of shock. Because even when you know somebody is going to die, it’s still such a shock when they actually do. 

“I just wish I’d been there to give him moral support. That’s what he wanted. He liked his friends around.” 

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Roger was asked what he thought Freddie would have made of the extraordinary way he has remained part of modern pop culture, as beloved now today as he ever was.

He said: “I think it has been terrific. He would have been so happy about it.”

However, the Queen drummer confessed that he still had one painful regret: “But I just wish I’d got to say goodbye.”

Roger was also asked what one person he wished he could have one last conversation with and he, of course, said Freddie.

Freddie died in the early evening of Sunday, November 24. On the Friday, Queen manager Jim Beach was called to the house and spent three hours alone in Freddie’s bedroom. They were preparing the historic statement that would announce the star’s AIDS status to the world. 

The statement was held back and released on the Friday evening hoping to avoid the more tabloidy weekday press and hoping that the weekend editions would be more respectful and measured in the coverage.

On Friday, Peter said: “Freddie had a fairly peaceful night as though a weight had been lifted from his shoulders… I have never seen him so relaxed because the secret was out. There was nothing to hide. He had stopped taking his medication and he was prepared.”

On the Saturday night, Freddie slipped into a coma from which he would not wake and he passed away early on Sunday evening shortly before 7pm. Roger was just a few streets away.

READ THE FULL INTERVIEW IN THE CURRENT BIG ISSUE, OUT NOW

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