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FREDDIE BEAT BIG C; Op saved Stars In Their Eyes winner.

STARS in Their Eyes winner Gary Mullen told yesterday how he beat cancer.

The 26-year-old had emergency surgery three years ago to remove a testicle which contained a life-threatening tumour.

Gary, who scooped more than 820,000 votes as Freddie Mercury in the hit ITV show, said: "It was a very stressful time."

But despite having the testicle removed and undergoing radiotherapy, Gary stunned doctors when he told them his wife Jackie, 24, was pregnant.

She is now expecting their second child nearly three years after son Ben was born.

Computer salesman Gary said: "We weren't sure we would ever have a child, but it seems we will be blessed with two.

"I was diagnosed with testicular cancer at Christmas 1996. I just accepted I had it and thought 'Okay, let's get rid of it'. Within days I was operated on. We had just started trying for a child when it happened, so when Jackie fell pregnant it was like a miracle.

"When the doctor discovered he asked 'How did that happen?' We answered 'You're the doctor, you tell us'.''

Gary, of Glasgow, has been given the all-clear and said he now appreciates life more.

He added: "I had a brush with death. That puts things into perspective. Testicular cancer is a big killer and I tell my pals to check themselves out and if they have any concerns to see the doctor. I did and it saved my life.

''Having a testicle removed has not effected me at all. Only that it helps me sing higher.

''I'm out of the tunnel now and winning Stars in Their Eyes is just fantastic after all I've been through.'' Gary, who admits he looks nothing like his idol Freddie Mercury, was secretly entered for the show by Jackie.

The first he knew was when he got a call from studio chiefs.

He said: "I thought it was a wind-up until Jackie confessed.

"I've always been a Queen fan. I don't look like Freddie but the make-up artists worked wonders."

Gary, who sang the hit It's A Kind Of Magic on the show, now hopes to pursue a career in music. He said: ''I would love to sing for a living."
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Title Annotation:Leader
Author:Lister, Mark
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:May 22, 2000
Words:368
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