Brian May thinks about Freddie Mercury "all the time".

The Queen guitarist has admitted that coming to terms with the singer's death in 1991 has been "painful" and says his former bandmate is still a big part of his life.

He said: "I think about Freddie all the time, really. There certainly isn't a day where I don't have some sort of thought about him.

"I have been to extremes where I have found it very painful, and I couldn't talk about him. But I don't feel that anymore. He's part of our lives, still, in a very real way."

The veteran rocker admits his initial reaction to his bandmate's death from an AIDS-related illness made him want to "escape" the group because he didn't know what else to do.

He explained: "When Freddie died, it was like losing a family member, and we all handled it in different ways. For a time, I really wanted to escape from Queen; I didn't want to know about it. I think that was my grieving process."

However, now Brian looks back at his memories of Freddie with happiness.

He said: "I'm not saying there aren't moments when I don't get tearful, because there are, but most of the time it's a joy."