Queen's Roger Taylor says John Deacon is "quite fragile".
The 70-year-old former bassist retired from the legendary rock band in 1997 - six years after his bandmate Freddie Mercury died from AIDS-related complications - and has tried to stay out of the limelight and away from people since then because he's not in a great place mentally.
Taylor explained: "He’s [John] quite fragile. He took Freddie’s death so hard."
The 72-year-old drummer thinks it took the band - comprised also of Brian May - at least "five years" to get over Freddie's passing.
He told The Times newspaper: “It was a dark period, a massive loss.
"It wasn’t just the band, it was more personal than that. I think it took five years for it to really sink in.”
The 'We Will Rock You' hitmakers threw themselves into a tribute concert at Wembley Stadium in 1992 and went on to complete a posthumous album, 'Made in Heaven' in 1995, but they were convinced that was the end of their time as Queen after that.
Taylor explained: "It was a way of diverting some of the grief. We thought that was it. It was wonderful. But it was over.”
However, it was far from over and their 'Greatest Hits' album - released in 1981 - remains the biggest-selling album in British history and, throughout the coronavirus pandemic, the band have remained in the album and streaming charts.
Taylor said: "Ultimately, I think it’s the strength of the material.
"There’s no master plan, just constant attention to doing stuff and keeping the embers glowing.”
Taylor and May returned to touring in 2011, with Adam Lambert on vocals in place of Mercury, and they have once again become one of the highest-grossing live acts in the world.
Taylor explained: “Running into Adam was the luckiest thing. He knows he’s not Freddie but at the same time he’s funny and brilliant and brings a whole new modern dimension to the material ... Brian and I like to say we’re brothers from another mother. We’re completely different but very close. He’s a good man. Completely bonkers, of course, but in a good way. He [May] was always on a bit of a roller coaster. It [depression] wasn’t really understood at the time, but people talk about it now, which I suppose is a good thing.
"I’m more positive. I try to squeeze every last bit of enjoyment out of life – so I’ll probably be the first to go! But we’re both very happy to still be doing this, while we physically can. It won’t last much longer, let’s face it.”