Stephen Gately, the openly gay member of the Irish “boy band” Boyzone has died while on holiday in the Balearic island Mallorca (Majorca).
The 33-year-old was on holiday with his civil partner Andrew Cowles and it is reported that he went out for drinks, went back to his flat, feel asleep and then died. Police sources say that a third man went back with Gately and his partner to the flat and that Gately’s body was found on a sofa.
Ronan Keating and other members of the band are to travel to the island later today. In the last few minutes, Spanish police said there appeared to be no suspicious circumstances relating to Gately’s death.
Gately first came into the public eye when he played a small part in the Alan Parker film the Commitments in 1991. In 1993, he joined the Irish band, Boyzone.
The manufactured boy band scored six UK number ones and sold over ten million albums.
In 1999, Gately took the brave decision to come out as gay in an interview with the Sun. A year later, the band split following the decision of lead singer, Ronan Keating to pursue a solo career.
Gately attempted his own solo career but was dropped by his record label in 2001. He then led a successful career as a musical actor before the band re-formed earlier this year.
In 2006, he became one of the first gay celebrities to hold a civil partnership, when he wed long-term partner Andrew Cowles.
In a statement Gately’s agent, Back Door Management, said: “Stephen was a very talented and much loved client and it was our great pleasure to work with him and our thoughts and condolences are extended to his loved ones at this very distressing time.
“Stephen was both in and out of the spotlight a genuine, funny and very charismatic man ”
“We are shocked and saddened that he is no longer with us and had such a short life as he had much more to give.
“Stephen was both in and out of the spotlight a genuine, funny and very charismatic man who was a joy to spend time with and it was a privilege to know him.
“He retained that rare quality of being humble despite his fame and this endeared him to those he worked with.”
The gay author, wit and actor Stephen Fry posted a tweet on Twitter saying: “Just heard the very sad news about dear Stephen Gately. What a dreadful shock. He was loveable and sweet-natured and will be hugely missed.”
Former Irish Taioseach (Prime Minister) Bertie Ahern told the BBC: “”It’s such a tragedy. Boyzone and Stephen Gately have been part of Irish life and far wider than that for 15 years and with such success. It’s a huge, huge tragedy, he was only 33.”