Gately's body brought home to Dublin
Hundreds of people have gathered in Dublin's north inner city tonight where the body of Stephen Gately is lying in repose after his arrival from Majorca this afternoon.
Boyzone band members who returned from Majorca to Ireland today with Stephen Gately's family attended Jennings Funeral Directors on Amiens Street near where Stephen was brought up.
The group arrived in Dublin Airport on a private plane this afternoon as family, close friends and parents, Martin and Margaret, prepared to pay their respects.
Gately’s body was taken to Jennings Funeral Directors on Amiens Street near where he was brought up in the north inner city. He was later taken to St Laurence O’Toole Church accompanied by his partner Andrew Cowles.
Earlier, several hundred fans and mourners gathered outside the funeral home where a large force of gardaí were also present.
The Gately family is holding a private Mass at St Laurence O’Toole Church on Sheriff Street in Dublin. It is to be followed by a larger funeral service at noon tomorrow. The four Boyzone members are expected to hold an overnight wake.
Before leaving Majorca, Ronan Keating stood arm in arm with Mikey Graham, Shane Lynch and Keith Duffy and said they were truly overwhelmed at the support they have received in the last week.
It was the first time they have spoken publicly since Gately (33), was found dead on the sofa in his apartment in Port Andratx last weekend after a night out with his partner Andrew Cowles and friend Georgi Dochev. A postmortem examination found he died from natural causes.
“Stephen and Andrew had chosen to make Majorca their second home and we know that Stephen loved the times they spent together here,” Keating said. “The countless messages of love and support we have received this week have truly overwhelmed ourselves and the Gately family.
“We thank you from the bottom of our hearts for each and every one of them.”
Reading a statement and flanked by his bandmates, Keating said their world had changed forever with Stephen’s death.
“Stephen lived to perform and truly loved being centre stage,” he said. “You can be sure he’s looking down on us now wishing we’d move over so he could flash his smile for the cameras one more time.
“What the future holds for the four of us now is too hard to even think about. But we know that nothing will ever be the same without our dearest friend, Stephen... rest in peace, brother.”
The weary looking bandmates have had discreet tattoos in honour of Gately, with the tribute “76 09” clearly etched on Keating’s upper arm and Lynch’s hand.
They are expected to sing at the funeral mass, which is expected to be attended by thousands of fans, celebrities and dignitaries.
Cowles has asked that mourners make a donation to the Caudwell Children Charity, of which the pop star was an ambassador, instead of sending flowers.
Local volunteers were today busy tidying up the grounds of the small church, which seats about 500 people, ahead of the funeral.