Monday, October 12, 2009

Boyzone singer Stephen Gately dies on holiday

Ronan Keating 'totally devastated' as band members prepare to fly to Majorca, where Irish star was on break with partner

Boyzone in Concert - London

Stephen Gately of Boyzone performs at Wembley Arena, London Photograph: Suzan/Suzan/EMPICS Entertainment

Tributes from the world of pop music and beyond have poured in for the Boyzone singer Stephen Gately, who died in Majorca yesterday.

Gately, who was 33, died at his holiday home in Port Andratx, where he was staying with his civil partner, Andrew Cowles. Spanish police said there were "no signs of suspicious circumstances".

Gately joined Boyzone in 1993 after answering an advert in Dublin to audition for Ireland's first boyband. The band were hugely successful, enjoying six number-one singles before they split up in 2000.

Gately, who shared lead vocals with Ronan Keating, came out as gay 10 years ago, shocking the band's legion of adoring female fans but retaining their support.

The Boyzone tour website said that members of the band were flying out to Spain following the news. The band – Keating, Keith Duffy, Mikey Graham and Shane Lynch – said in a statement: "We are completely devastated by the loss of our friend and brother, Stephen.

"We have shared such wonderful times together over the years and were all looking forward to sharing many more.

"Stephen was a beautiful person in both body and spirit. He lit up our lives and those of the many friends he had all over the world.

"Our love and sympathy go out to Andrew and Stephen's family. We love you and will miss you forever, 'Steo'."

The band's manager, Louis Walsh, cancelled his scheduled appearance as a judge on the live X Factor show tonight . Walsh, who had been with Gately at an awards ceremony last Monday, said he was "in complete shock". "We will rally around each other this week," he told the News of the World. "He was a great man."