Tributes pour in for Gately
The remaining members of Boyzone have led the tributes to their “friend and brother, Stephen Gately as they made their way to the Spanish island of Majorca where the singer died yesterday afternoon.
Ronan Keating, Keith Duffy, Mikey Graham and Shane Lynch said they were "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’.”
Former taoiseach, Bertie Ahern said the Gately family lived in his own constituency.
“I know the family, I know Stephen. Ronan Keating is a very good friend of my daughter’s, my family. He (Gately) was with us the other night with his boyfriend Andy, he came to my book launch."
Mr Ahern, whose daughter Georgina is married to Nicky Byrne of boyband Westlife, continued: “It’s just such a tragedy. Boyzone and Stephen, they’ve all been part of Irish life and far wider than that, the last 15 years, and so successful, so it’s a huge, huge tragedy. It’s so sad.
“He was 33 years of age, 15 years at the top, a fine musician, it’s just a huge tragedy to Irish entertainment, Irish music and further afield as well.”
The Minister for Arts, Culture and the Gaeltacht Martin Cullen paid tribute to the singer and offered his sympathy to his family, partner and band members.
He described Gately as “a gifted young man with a talent for singing which brought him tremendous success as a member of Boyzone and also as a West End star.
He said there "was a joy about his music making, and his death at such a young age is both a personal and professional loss.”
Louis Walsh said he only heard about Gately’s death in the early hours of this morning and was “very shocked and exceptionally upset”.
Sir Elton John said he and his partner David Furnish were “stunned by this tragedy”.
“Stephen was the kindest, gentlest soul. We send our love and condolences to his partner Andy and to all his friends everywhere,” the singer said.
Musical impresario Andrew Lloyd Webber said he was “enormously talented”. He said he "very much enjoyed working with him on Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat and the Boyzone hit No Matter What — my biggest selling single."
In a statement, Westlife members Nicky Byrne, Kian Egan, Mark Feehily and Shane Filan said “We are, like everyone else, in shock today. We met Stephen Gately back in 1998 when we first started out and since then had the pleasure of meeting him many times”.
The statement continued “He was a friendly, positive spirit and a passionate performer. Our thoughts are with Andy and the rest of his family, his friends; his legions of fans and of course his bandmates Keith, Mickey, Shane and Ronan who will be devastated at the loss of a truly beautiful person”.
The Lord Mayor of Dublin, Cllr. Emer Costello said “Stephen was born and reared in Sheriff Street and I know that he was loved and respected by the North Inner City community. Stephen’s international success lifted this entire community and he was both an excellent role model and an idol for young people from the area”.