Stephen Gately, the gay Boyzone singer who was found dead this weekend, had been drinking heavily on the night he died.

According to reports, the star and his civil partner Andy Cowles, 31, had been drinking at the Black Cat, the biggest gay club in Palma, Majorca, where they were on holiday.

He is said to have been drinking heavily for eight hours and may have choked on his own vomit after going to sleep on a sofa at his apartment.

Gately was found kneeling against the sofa with his head in a pillow on Saturday at lunchtime. Cowles and a family member tried to revive him but were unsuccessful.

A family friend told the Daily Mirror: “The family have been told the most likely scenario is Stephen had a bit too much to drink, vomited in his sleep and choked. It was a terrible accident.”

Tributes from other stars have been pouring in.

Elton John called him “the kindest, gentlest soul” and added: “We send our love and condolences to his partner Andy and to all his friends everywhere.”

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.”

Former Boyzone manager and X Factor judge Louis Walsh described him as “one in a million” and said that Cowles was “devastated” over his death.

Spanish police are currently trying to trace another man who returned to the flat with the couple. Police said that the Bulgarian man, known as Giorgio, is not a suspect but could prove vital in helping them discover what happened.

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 Cowles.

His body will be flown back to the UK this week.