Inside Brian Mays life – heart attack, soap star wife and Freddie Mercury gift

Queen guitarist Brian May is part of one of the world's greatest rock bands, whose front man Freddie Mercury died 30 years ago on November 24 1991.

He and Brian were very close, with the guitarist reflecting on the loss of his beloved friend in his debut solo album Back to Light in 1992.

Since Freddie's death, Brian and fellow Queen band members have created the Mercury Phoenix Trust to support Aids related projects across the world and continue to celebrate Freddie's legacy in everything that they do.

In Brian's personal life, he has also revealed in recent interviews the 'dark place' that Freddie's death and other personal losses led him to, as well as talking about his heart attack in 2020 and celebrating the anniversary of his marriage to an EastEnders acting legend.

Queen and huge net worth

It's no surprise that as part of one of the world's biggest rock bands and as an accomplished solo artist, Brian May has a huge net worth estimated at $210 million (£166 million).

Brian originally performed with drummer Roger Taylor in the band Smile, before they, along with Freddie Mercury and John Deacon formed Queen in 1970.

As they say the rest is history.

Not only is he one of the greatest guitarists of all time, but he also wrote 22 of Queen's biggest hits including We Will Rock You, The Show Must Go On, Save Me, I Want it All and the ballad Who Wants to Live Forever, which Brian also sang on.

In 1992, he also released his debut solo album Back to Light, featuring songs such as Driven by You.

He also performed live from the roof of Buckingham Palace in 2002 for Her Majesty The Queen's Golden Jubilee Celebrations, with a rendition of the national anthem.

Three years later in 2005, he was made a CBE (Commander of the Order of the British Empire) for his services to music.

Today, Brian continues to perform alongside Roger Taylor and singer Adam Lambert across the world as Queen, as well as working on solo projects with singers including Kerry Ellis.

The Red Special

Brian May is well known for his Red Special Guitar, which he said his father helped him to build 60 years ago when he was a teenager.

The guitar has become synonymous with both Brian May and Queen, with many iconic photographs of Brian performing onstage with the Red Special throughout the years.

Fans who want a taste of playing the Red Special can even buy a guitar designed in collaboration with Brian May, made to the same design specifications.

Long live Rock 'n' Roll!

Freddie Mercury bond

Brian May and Freddie Mercury, like the other Queen band members, were very close and in a recent interview, Brian shared that Freddie gave him a beautiful gift during the Bohemian Rhapsody studio sessions.

Brian told Daily Express that Freddie had given him a cassette full of the guitar solos that he had performed, saying: "Listen to this, darling. This is going to surprise you."

Queen and friends of Freddie have all noted the singer's generosity, and in this instance, Freddie had spent hours crafting the tape by hand in the days before digital software was available to do this.

Brian said: ""It was quite amazing… Freddie was very proud of the stuff that I’d done and that we’d done together."

When Freddie Mercury died, Brian said that he and his band members didn't get over his death for a very long time, saying to The Guardian: "I’m not even sure we’re over it now.

He added: "We got to the point where it now seems like Freddie is with us. It doesn’t seem like he left any more, because he’s in everything we do.

"I can never have a single day without thinking about Freddie."

After Freddie Mercury's death, he and the other members of Queen set up the Mercury Phoenix Trust, a charity that raises money for AIDs related projects across the world and to date, has supported over 800 projects.

Personal losses

Brian May recently shared that he found himself in a "dark place" in 1992, following the deaths of his father Harold May and Freddie Mercury, along with the break down of his marriage with Christine Mullen in 1988.

He told The Telegraph: "I knew at the time that I wasn’t going to have Freddie anymore, but I was also losing my dad [Harold May died from cancer, aged 66, in 1991] and losing my marriage and family.

"I was in a dark place, looking for the light."

He reflected on his personal losses on his debut 1992 solo album Back to Light, which entered the top 10 on its release and also led to two hit singles.

The album has recently been re-released with extra material, with Brian adding: "I wanted to find a new light, a new path, and this was it. And it still is it, in a way."

Brian also revealed in a separate interview with The Guardian that during that period of time, he "felt like life was over."

EastEnders star wife

Brian May isn't the only British entertainment royalty in his family, as his wife is none other than EastEnders legend Anita Dobson, who played Dirty Den's wife Angie Watts.

He was previously married to Chrissie Mullen from 1977, with who he had three children, but the couple separated in 1988.

After dating since the eighties, Brian and Anita married in 2000 and currently live together at their home in Kensington, London.

The star recently posted a photo of himself and Anita on his Instagram page, showing the loved up couple in front of a Christmas tree on a night out, to celebrate their 21st wedding anniversary on November 19 2021.

Brian thanked fans in the caption, saying: "Thanks for our anniversary wishes, folks! Anita says thanks too.

"Our marriage was 21 today! But we've actually effectively been a couple since 1986. Where did that time go? Cheers all – Bri."

Heart attack

Brian May made headlines when he shared that he has pulled a muscle in his buttock after completing some gardening work, saying that the incident had left him in severe pain.

However during this time, doctors discovered that the pain was related to a compressed sciatic nerve in his spine.

Brian then suffered another setback, when in May 2020, he had a heart attack and underwent emergency surgery, where he was fitted with three stents.

After the incident, he shared a video on Instagram updating fans on his health, saying: "I thought I was a very healthy guy," he said.

"But I turned out to have three arteries that were congested and in danger of blocking the supply of blood to my heart."

"I walked out with a heart that's very strong now, so I think I'm in good shape for some time to come."

Doctor Brian May

Not only is he continuing to tour the world with Queen and Adam Lambert, but Brian May is also a Doctor of Astrophysics after gaining his PhD in 2007 from Imperial College London.

He has also been awarded honorary degrees from Liverpool John Moores University and the Universities of Exeter and Hertfordshire.

If that wasn't enough, Brian regularly contributes to the television programme The Sky at Night, hosted by his close friend Sir Patrick Moore, and has co-authored a number of books including A Village Lost and Found, which is illustrated in 3D.

Outside of Astrophysics, he is also a campaigner for the prevention of cruelty to animals.

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