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Rock Star Freddie Mercury Says He Has AIDS

November 23, 1991

LONDON (AP) _ Rock star Freddie Mercury acknowledged Saturday that he has AIDS, and urged everyone to join him in the fight against ″this terrible disease.″

In a statement, the flamboyant singer from the group Queen said: ″Following the enormous conjecture in the press over the last two weeks, I wish to confirm that I have been tested HIV positive and have AIDS.

″I felt it correct to keep this information private to date in order 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 that everyone will join with me, my doctors and all those worldwide in the fight against this terrible disease.″

His spokeswoman, Roxy Meade, said Mercury, 45, was in Britain and was not hospitalized. She refused to discuss the singer’s health.

″He just wanted to let people know that he has the disease, and that’s as far as it goes,″ Meade said.

In his statement, Mercury said, ″My privacy has always been very special to me and I am famous for my lack of interviews. Please understand this policy will continue.″

He has lived a reclusive existence at his west London home in recent months, and the disease that attacks the immune system has left him looking frail and gaunt.

Mercury was born Frederick Bulsara in Zanzibar, now Tanzania, the son of a government accountant.

His big No. 1 hit with Queen, formed in 1972, was ″Bohemian Rhapsody.″

The group is the cornerstone of Hollywood Records, which was just bought by Disney Co. for $25 million.

″Queen’s Greatest Hits″ remains one of the top-selling albums, and singles including ″We Are Champions″ and ″Crazy Little Thing Called Love,″ plus Mercury’s solo efforts such as ″The Great Pretender″ were hits.

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