The lead singer of the band Queen, known around the world as Freddie Mercury, was actually born Farroukh Bulsara, the son of Persian parents, on 5 September 1946 on the Indian Ocean island Zanzibar. For ten years he attended a boarding school near Mumbai (then Bombay) in India, where he acquired the nickname 'Freddie', which he was to keep for the rest of his life. Already at boarding school the young Freddie was devoting his time to his beloved hobby of music, playing the piano in his rock'n'roll band 'The Hectics'. When Freddie was 17 his family moved to London, where he was awarded a degree in Graphic Design at Ealing College of Art in 1969.
In 1970 he linked up with the existing members of the band 'The Smile', Roger Meddows Taylor and Brian Harold May. The band was renamed 'Queen', and with the arrival of the final band member, bassist John Richard Deacon, the foundations were laid for a hugely successful career throughout the seventies and eighties.
Queen had a string of huge successes with searing rock songs such as 'We Will Rock You', 'Radio Gaga' and many others. Freddie played a huge role in their success with his exceptionally strong stage presence at live appearances.
In addition to his career as lead singer of the band, Freddie also enjoyed considerable success as a solo artist. As well as 'Living On My Own' and the Platters cover 'The Great Pretender' (both 1987), the duet of 'Barcelona' (1988) with opera singer Montserrat Caballé represented a particular highpoint for Mercury, a huge opera fan.
Freddie Mercury's private life is well documented as being one of wild parties and life on the edge. Mercury was bisexual, and had a series of relationships with women, although he lived out the final years of his life primarily with men. Jim Hutton was Mercury's life partner from 1985 onwards, nursing him through grave illness until his death in 1991.
From the moment the musician was diagnosed as having AIDS, probably in 1986, Freddie Mercury devoted all his efforts to his music. He was eventually unable to arrest the progress of the condition, however, and the clearly ravaging effects of his condition marred his final appearances.
Freddie Mercury died on 24 November 1991 at his home in Kensington, London, of a lung inflammation that his depleted immune system was no longer able to withstand. He issued an official statement about his condition 24 hours before his death in an effort to stop unnecessary speculation in the pitiless British tabloid press.