This extract from John's book is a poignant example of the kind of man Mercury was, and the message that he extended to the rest of the world.
John explains that Mercury had kept the fact that he had been diagnosed with AIDS in 1987 a virtual secret with only his closest friends knowing that he had the disease. "I’d seen what the disease had done to so many of my other friends," said the ‘Candle in the Wind’ singer.
"I knew exactly what it was going to do to Freddie. As did he. He knew death, agonising death, was coming."
However, John adds that Mercury was prepared to keep his and other people's spirits up and kept performing with Queen and "he kept being the funny, outrageous and profoundly generous person he had always been."
Towards the end of his life John says that Mercury was so sick that he was almost blind and was "too weak to even stand." Yet, even at that stage of his life he was still thinking of others.
A month after his death, on Christmas Day, John said he was still grieving about Mercury's passing when a mutual friend showed up on his doorstep with a present wrapped in a pillowcase. "I opened it up, and inside was a painting by one of my favourite artists, the British painter Henry Scott Tuke. And there was a note from Freddie. Years before, Freddie and I had developed pet names for each other, our drag queen alter-egos. I was Sharon, and he was Melina. Freddie's note read: "Dear Sharon, I thought you’d like this. Love, Melina."
John concludes: "I was overcome, 44-years-old at the time, crying like a child. Here was this beautiful man, dying from AIDS, and in his final days, he had somehow managed to find me a lovely Christmas present. As sad as that moment was, it's often the one I think about when I remember Freddie, because it captures the character of the man. In death, he reminded me of what made him so special."