On November 24, 1991, Freddie Mercury, the lead singer, pianist and chief songwriter of the band Queen, died aged 45.
Mercury, born Farookh Bulsara in 1946, passed away just one day after publicly announcing he was HIV positive. The flamboyant frontman was believed to have been diagnosed with the virus two years earlier.
He was born in Zanzibar (now part of Tanzania) and spent most of his early life in India before his family settled in Middlesex in 1964.
He studied art and graphic design at Ealing College, meeting future band mates Brian May and Roger Taylor through another Ealing student Tim Staffell, who played bass in their band Smile.
After Staffell’s departure and the eventual recruitment of John Deacon, Mercury adopted his stage moniker and re-named the band Queen. They recorded their eponymous debut album in 1973, and went on to become one of the biggest bands in Britain, if not the world.
Their performance at 1985’s Live Aid at Wembley was later voted the greatest gig ever in an industry poll, an achievement owing not a little to Mercury’s powerful stage presence and soaring vocals.
Mercury made his final public appearance with his bandmates to collect their Brit Award for Outstanding Contribution to British Music in 1990.