Boyzone bandmates, friends, relatives and partner have paid an emotional tribute to Stephen Gately whose funeral was held today at St Laurence O’Toole Church in north Dublin.
Gately rose to fame in the Irish boyband Boyzone where they achieved six UK number ones and sold over ten million albums. He became one of the first teenage pin-ups to come out as gay in 1999.
Fellow Boyzone star Ronan Keating weeped as he delivered an emotional eulogy:
“We have lost our brother and I’ve lost my wing man.
“He will live on in our songs and whenever us four are together his spirit is alive.
“For Stephen we’ll carry on, but it will never be the same without him.
“A beautiful man who is now the perfect angel. Forever young and never forgotten.”
Gately’s parents Margaret and Martin together with his siblings supported his civil partner Andrew Cowles.
Graham spoke about Gately’s civil partner Andew Cowles: “Stephen’s love for Andrew was true and only last week he told me how lucky he felt to have him by his side.”
“But Steo [sic] always kept in touch with his family at home in Dublin, making frequent trips home to see his Mam and Dad, sister Michelle and her family and his brothers Tony, Mark and Alan and their families.”
Duffy said that Gately was always concerned with his height, “but he was a giant of a man in our hearts,” he told mourners.
“He was a true performer, full of life and spirit. A true friend, full of love and friendship. Believing in joy, compassion, love and equality.”
Father Declan Blake, said that “through fame and entertaining Stephen touched the lives of many, many, many people.
“He brought great joy and lifted the hearts of many people. Stephen, as we all know, was a real gentleman, he was kind, caring and he was very talented.”
Father Declan said that Gately held a deep connection with the church. It was were he was baptised and received Holy Communion. Adding: “He was caring, he was thoughtful, he reached out to others.”
Former Irish Prime Minister (Taoiseach) Bertie said: “Stephen is one of the heroes here. We’re very proud of him and it’s a great tragedy. I’ve just been in to see his parents. It’s been a tough week, but they’re on good form. They’ve taken comfort and support from the turnout.”
In a statement, fellow Irish boyband Westlife said: “Stephen Gately played a big part in our story.
“We got to know him as a friend over the many times our paths crossed and he would always have that same smile for us any time we bumped into him.
“It’s a shame that today we have to say goodbye to him like this.”
Gately was found dead in a Majorca apartment last weekend. Post mortem examination results show he died from natural causes.