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Boyzone star Stephen Gately dies


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The Boyzone singer Stephen Gately, 33, has been found dead while on holiday in Majorca. The group's tour website said that he had "tragically died" and that the rest of the band would be flying out to Majorca on Sunday.


The website also said Gately had been on holiday with his long-term partner Andy Cowles when he died on Saturday. Boyzone announced their comeback tour last November. The Irish band had six UK number one hits from 1994 to 2000. The News of the World's showbusiness editor Dan Wootton told BBC News Gately had gone out for drinks, returned to his accommodation and gone to sleep, but never woke up. Boyzone manager Louis Walsh, who is due to appear as a judge on The X Factor results show on Sunday, told the newspaper: "We're all absolutely devastated."


He said: "I'm in complete shock. I was only with him on Monday at an awards ceremony. We don't know much about what's happened yet. I only heard after The X Factor and we will rally around each other this week. He was a great man."


Music journalist Paul Gambaccini said: "He's a performer with the word 'boy' in his professional title and boys aren't supposed to die. This is way too soon and way too unspecific for us to feel that this is at all the right thing to happen. It's sad on a personal level and a professional level."


The former Irish Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern, described Gately as a personal friend and his death as a "huge, huge tragedy" for Irish music and culture. Writing on the micro-blogging website Twitter, broadcaster Stephen Fry said: "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."


Boyzone sold more singles than Take That in the 1990s, he said, and had 16 Top 5 singles. A year before Boyzone split, Gately revealed that he was gay and had a boyfriend, in June 1999. The two later held a private civil partnership ceremony in London in 2006. After Boyzone, Gately continued his career as a solo artist, but was dropped by Polydor in 2001 after three Top 20 singles. He enjoyed further success performing in musicals, including Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat in 2003-04.


Gately also appeared in 2007 on ITV1's reality series Dancing on Ice, and was voted Hero of 1999 at the Smash Hits Poll Winners' Party. His last message on Twitter, posted on 6 October, said: "still busy - lots going on. Focussing on finishing my book next so may be quiet here" (sic)



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