In an interview with the Daily Mail, May has admitted that he contemplated suicide after Freddie Mercury passed away in 1991.
The guitarist, who also lost his father around the same time that Mercury died, said he felt like he "didn't want to live" in the months following the deaths.
“I regarded myself as completely sick,” Brian revealed.“I was wounded and very much in pieces. I went into a serious depression – I was subsumed by feelings of loss. Being in a touring band puts your friends and family on hold. You’re focused on one thing: the band. When that finishes, you’re out on a limb. The band finished, so there was a terrible feeling of loss. The band was my family. We lost Freddie and my dad died at almost the same time. I didn’t want to love – I’d lost myself completely.”
May checked himself into a rehab facility in Arizona to help find his way through the healing process. “I coasted along and got by somehow, but I couldn't get myself into gear,” he said. “So, I had to go into this place where I was isolated and removed from my life. Gradually, the suicidal feelings went away."
Brian also spoke about the late stages of Freddie’s life and how the singer chose not to continue fighting his AIDS-related illness, while looking ahead at life’s big picture.
“He [Freddie] said the next generation will be the ones to beat this,” recalled May. “And the sad thing is, if it had been 12 months later he might have been OK, when combination drug therapy came in. But he was getting frail and he decided to come off all the medication apart from painkillers. Freddie loved life. He lived it to the full. And towards the end, when he realized it was no longer fun, he decided to come off medication. He was suffering, and sadly there was no way out.”
Brian has continued to thrive in the years since Freddie’s passing, both in and out of the spotlight. May was made Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 2005 for "services to the music industry"; he earned a PhD in astrophysics from Imperial College in 2007, and is currently the Chancellor of Liverpool John Moores’ University. Years ago, May formed Save Me, a group designed to promote decent treatment for animals.
Brian has continued to uphold the legacy of Queen and their music, overseeing reissues by the band and touring with Roger Taylor and singer Paul Rodgers in recent years as Queen + Paul Rodgers.
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