Globe Icon


and support
LGBT+ journalism


Freddie Mercury’s ‘best friend’ claims singer cut him out of his life during final battle against AIDS

Josh Milton January 9, 2020
Freddie Mercury. (Steve Jennings/WireImage)

Freddie Mercury. (Steve Jennings/WireImage)

Embattled and on the brink of his battle with AIDS, Freddie Mercury stonewalled many of his friends throughout the end of his career.

Only the Queen front-person’s tight inner circle knew about his diagnosis at the time and he was determined to keep it that way until the end.

But not all of Mercury’s closest friends were informed, the Daily Mirror reported, as one was saddened to realise the extent of Mercury’s illness only to be cut off.

Freddie Mercury and Peter Straker.

With a study friendship spanning 15 years, fellow singer Peter Straker was Mercury’s best buddy. The West End star had bonded over the 1970s and survived it all.

As Mercury’s star soared, their friendship never faltered. Straker scored leading roles in musicals such as The Rocky Horror Show, Tommy and Hair.

The latter’s 1968 performance rocketed him to relevancy among the London theatre scene.

The ‘Somebody to Love’ singer even partly funded and provided one of Straker’s albums, he was quickly a member of Mercury’s closest friends.

He even earned the nickname ‘Sertia’.

Interviewed by Kenny Everett to promote A Day At The Races, Mercury listed his dedications to “Sharon, Beryl, Phyllis, Serita, all the lovely people who’ve all been nice to us this year”, according to archival material.

Everett enquired: “All lady friends then?”

Singer songwriter Elton John (L) with star of musicals Peter Straker (C), and Freddie Mercury. (Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
Singer songwriter Elton John (L) with star of musicals Peter Straker (C), and Freddie Mercury. (Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

“Yes, they’re all going into my white book,” Mercury replied, “my black book’s quite full up actually.”

‘Sharon’ was Elton John, ‘Beryl’ was John Reid, ‘Phyllis’ was Rod Stewart, leaving ‘Sertia’ for Straker.

However, months of suspicion trailed Mercury, whose appearances grew infrequent, his body noticeably pale and lithe, as he was now living with AIDS in the 1980s. Straker found himself was dropped from Mercury’s white book.

The Jamaican singer had grown concerned about Mercury, and as much as he was invited to the artist’s home, he was never looped into his secret.

Straker said: “All I got from Freddie was that he had this blood thing, and I thought it could have been leukaemia or something like that.

“He started to get these blotches and I asked about these and he said he had some blood condition. I knew about AIDS but it just never entered my head.”

As much as Mercury attempted to keep his friend in the dark, Straker eventually comforted him.

He said: “We had lunch and he was quite blotchy and he had on make-up. We went upstairs and we were sitting down watching telly on his bed and I said to him ‘have you got AIDS’.

“And he said, ‘no, I haven’t got AIDS’, and I said: ‘If there’s anything wrong with you, I’m always here for you’.

“We parted that evening and that was the last time I saw him.”

More: Freddie Mercury, HIV/AIDS, Peter Straker, queen

Click to comment

Swipe sideways to view more posts!


Loading ...

Close icon