Credit: Shutterstock/Freddie Mercury

I’m just a musical prostitute my dear

One of the best-loved and most outrageously talented singers of all time, Queen frontman Freddie Mercury was born Farrokh Bulsara to a Farsi family on the island of Zanzibar, and raised in an Indian boarding school.

Always interested in music and performance growing up, Freddie’s first musical love was Liza Minelli. The flamboyance and dramatic appeal of Broadway was evident in his own total command of the stage, soaring voice and dazzling presence as he performed Queen’s anthemic songs.

Off stage, Freddie walked the line between shy and generous friend, and outrageous party animal. True stories were as entertaining as the rumours – how he’d faced down Sid Vicious of the Sex Pistols in the corridor of a recording studio, smuggled Princess Diana into a notorious London gay club, and fell out with Michael Jackson when the American singer insisted on bringing his pet llama into recording sessions.

His stage and real-life antics confirmed Freddie’s status as a legend, even before his premature death from an AIDS related complication in 1991.

Always a private man, he only made his diagnosis public 24 hours before his death at the age of 45, with only his close friends and family aware of his illness. After he died, his ashes were buried in a secret location known only to his lifelong friend, Mary Austin, to whom he had once been engaged.