‘I can’t take this anymore’: Queen’s Brian May remembers Freddie Mercury’s words after Knebworth performance

Queen singer Freddie Mercury shocked his bandmates in 1986 when he told them after their famous Knebworth performance that he no longer wanted to perform live due to his ailing health, a new documentary reveals.

Guitarist Brian May says on the upcoming Freddie Mercury: The Final Act, which airs Saturday, how his friend told him and fellow band members Roger Taylor and John Deacon that he wanted to stop performing live.

At the time of the performance, which was performed to a sold-out crowd of 200,000 at Knebworth Park, in Hertfordshire, May and Taylor were unaware that Mercury was suffering from AIDS, for which there was no treatment at the time.

“We had done the biggest tour of our lives and it was a huge success and we were very happy. And Freddie said, “After this, I can’t do this anymore.” And we went, “oh,” May says.

Taylor adds, “He was pretty adamant at the time that he didn’t want to do any more live shows, which sort of told us something was wrong.”

The BBC program also hears from others closest to Mercury, including his sister Kashmira Bulsara, longtime friend Anita Dobson and personal assistant Peter Freestone to share their memories of the singer’s final years.

Mercury, born in Farrokh Bulsara in Zanzibar in September 1946, died of AIDS 30 years ago yesterday at the age of 45.

To celebrate the anniversary, fans left flowers in front of his former home in Earl’s Court – an echo of how floral tribute piled up at the residence in the days after he died.

Queen singer Freddie Mercury shocked his bandmates in 1986 when he told them after their famous Knebworth performance that he no longer wanted to perform live due to his ailing health, a new documentary reveals.

Queen singer Freddie Mercury shocked his bandmates in 1986 when he told them after their famous Knebworth performance that he no longer wanted to perform live due to his ailing health, a new documentary reveals.

Guitarist Brian May says on the upcoming Freddie Mercury: The Final Act, which airs Saturday, how his friend told him and fellow band members Roger Taylor and John Deacon that he wanted to stop performing live.  Above: Taylor (left), Mercury, May (second from left), and Deacon pose for a publicity photo to promote their 1975 tour of Japan

Guitarist Brian May says on the upcoming Freddie Mercury: The Final Act, which airs Saturday, how his friend told him and fellow band members Roger Taylor and John Deacon that he wanted to stop performing live.  Above: Taylor (left), Mercury, May (second from left), and Deacon pose for a publicity photo to promote their 1975 tour of Japan

Guitarist Brian May says on the upcoming Freddie Mercury: The Final Act, which airs Saturday, how his friend told him and fellow band members Roger Taylor and John Deacon that he wanted to stop performing live. Above: Taylor (left), Mercury, May (second from left), and Deacon pose for a publicity photo to promote their 1975 tour of Japan

Queen’s Knebworth Park performance was the last date of the band’s successful Magic Tour.

The stars played their biggest hits, including ‘One Vision’, ‘Radio Ga Ga’, ‘Crazy Little Thing Called Love’, ‘We Will Rock You’ and ‘I Want To Break Free’.

In line with his wishes, the performance was Mercury’s last live performance.

Freestone, who cared for Mercury in his Garden Lodge home in his final weeks, tells on Saturday’s show how the singer refused even more drugs that would keep him alive.

“The only thing he would take is painkillers. And those last two weeks he slowly let go,” he says.

Despite ongoing rumors about his health, the writer and artist didn’t confirm he had AIDS until the day before his death.

“We had done the biggest tour of our lives and it was a huge success and we were very happy.  And Freddie said: "I can't do this after this." and we went, "Oh",' says May

“We had done the biggest tour of our lives and it was a huge success and we were very happy.  And Freddie said: "I can't do this after this." and we went, "Oh",' says May

“We had done the biggest tour of our lives and it was a huge success and we were very happy. And Freddie said, “After this, I can’t do this anymore.” And we went, “oh,” says May

The BBC program also hears from others closest to Mercury, including his sister Kashmira Bulsara (pictured), longtime friend Anita Dobson and personal assistant Peter Freestone to share their memories of the singer's final years.

The BBC program also hears from others closest to Mercury, including his sister Kashmira Bulsara (pictured), longtime friend Anita Dobson and personal assistant Peter Freestone to share their memories of the singer's final years.

The BBC program also hears from others closest to Mercury, including his sister Kashmira Bulsara (pictured), longtime friend Anita Dobson and personal assistant Peter Freestone to share their memories of the singer’s final years.

Queen's Knebworth Park performance was the last date of the band's successful Magic Tour.  The stars played the biggest hits, including 'One Vision', 'Radio Ga Ga', 'Crazy Little Thing Called Love', 'We Will Rock You' and 'I Want To Break Free'.

Queen's Knebworth Park performance was the last date of the band's successful Magic Tour.  The stars played the biggest hits, including 'One Vision', 'Radio Ga Ga', 'Crazy Little Thing Called Love', 'We Will Rock You' and 'I Want To Break Free'.

Queen’s Knebworth Park performance was the last date of the band’s successful Magic Tour. The stars played the biggest hits, including ‘One Vision’, ‘Radio Ga Ga’, ‘Crazy Little Thing Called Love’, ‘We Will Rock You’ and ‘I Want To Break Free’.

In a statement passed to Queen’s manager Jim Beach and released to the public, Mercury said: “Following the huge press speculation of the past two weeks, I would like to confirm that I have been tested HIV positive and have AIDS.

“I thought it was right to keep this information private until now to protect the privacy of those around me.

“However, the time has now come for my friends and fans around the world to know the truth and I hope everyone will join me, my doctors and everyone around the world in the fight against this terrible disease.

My privacy has always been very special to me and I am known for my lack of interviews. Please understand that this policy will continue.”

Around 1982 Mercury first started showing symptoms of HIV, which causes AIDS.

At the time, the disease had only recently emerged among the gay community in the United States and there was no effective treatment for it.

It then spread around the world and has now claimed the lives of 33 million people.

Journalist David Wigg, who became a close friend of Mercury, says on the BBC show that in 1987 on holiday with the star in Ibiza, he first noticed a sign that the singer may be suffering from HIV.

“We were sitting around the pool and I got a chill because Freddie had a purple spot on his cheek, and I knew people get some sort of purple spot all over their bodies, it’s a sign that they could have HIV. ‘ he says.

Two hours later, Wigg interviewed Mercury, who claimed he “stopped going out and almost became a nun” because of the treat AIDS brought.

Wigg says that after turning off his recording device, Mercury talked about his health condition.

Mercury is seen with his bandmates at the 1990 Brit Awards, where Queen won the Outstanding Contribution to British Music award

Mercury is seen with his bandmates at the 1990 Brit Awards, where Queen won the Outstanding Contribution to British Music award

Mercury is seen with his bandmates at the 1990 Brit Awards, where Queen won the Outstanding Contribution to British Music award

Mercury, Deacon, Taylor and May pose for a publicity photo in 1978.  The band became successful worldwide

Mercury, Deacon, Taylor and May pose for a publicity photo in 1978.  The band became successful worldwide

Mercury, Deacon, Taylor and May pose for a publicity photo in 1978. The band became successful worldwide

To celebrate the anniversary, fans left flowers at Mercury's former home, Garden Lodge, in Earl's Court yesterday

To celebrate the anniversary, fans left flowers at Mercury's former home, Garden Lodge, in Earl's Court yesterday

To celebrate the anniversary, fans left flowers at Mercury’s former home, Garden Lodge, in Earl’s Court yesterday

The emotion echoed as floral tribute piled up outside the residence in the days following his death on November 24, 1991

The emotion echoed as floral tribute piled up outside the residence in the days following his death on November 24, 1991

The emotion echoed as floral tribute piled up outside the residence in the days following his death on November 24, 1991

The black Rolls-Royce carrying pop star Freddie Mercury's coffin arrives at the West London Crematorium in Harrow Road on the day of his funeral

The black Rolls-Royce carrying pop star Freddie Mercury's coffin arrives at the West London Crematorium in Harrow Road on the day of his funeral

The black Rolls-Royce carrying pop star Freddie Mercury’s coffin arrives at the West London Crematorium in Harrow Road on the day of his funeral

He says the singer said to him, “Well, if I tell you as a friend David, will you promise me you won’t put it in the article?”.

“I thought I knew what’s coming, so I said, ‘If you don’t want that, of course not, but I just hope it’s not what I think it is,'” he adds.

And he said, ‘Well, I’m afraid so, but I’m going to fight it and we’re going to find a cure.’ End of topic.’

Mercury’s last studio appearance, in May 1991, was the music video for the Queen song “These Are the Days of Our Lives,” in which he appeared weak and emaciated.

Actress Ms. Dobson, who became a close friend of the singer, says on the show Mercury told her shortly after, “Honey, if I can’t sing anymore, I’ll die, I’ll drop dead, that’s it.”

She added: “And I think when he had sung as much as he could, he withdrew and got ready to die.”

His sister adds: ‘I thought it was a waste of a beautiful talented life.

“But also for those people who died around the same time as Freddie, it was such a stigma and shame behind it all that many families didn’t understand.

‘People died on their own, I thought that was such a shame.’

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