Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 24 April 2014

Stephen Gately phoned family six hours before sudden death

Stephen Gately

Stephen Gately made a tragic last phonecall home less than six hours before his sudden death.

The Boyzone star was sober and coherent when he spoke to his family from his Majorca apartment at 12.30am (local time), they said.

He was last seen alive around 6am when his partner Andy Cowles went to bed and Stephen (33) slept on the sofa.

While his devastated family are not disputing that he went drinking after the call, they say reports of an eight-hour binge are grossly exaggerated.

It has been claimed that Stephen was in “great shape” in the hours before his death and rang home before going out.

It is thought he got sick and choked on his vomit. The star had no underlying conditions.

Husband Andy, who first wed Stephen in a commitment ceremony in Las Vegas in 2003, is thought to have raced to a neighbour for help after discovering the body when he woke up at around 1pm.

The four Boyzone members remained in Majorca until yesterday and met up with Andrew

The Dubliners visited the scene of Stephen's death on Sunday and issued a message on their website saying: “He lit up our lives and those of the many friends he had all over the world.”

It is likely to be late this week before Stephen's body is flown back to Dublin. A wide selection of celebrities are expected to attend his funeral.

Elton John paid tribute, saying his partner “David (Furnish) and I are stunned by this tragedy. Stephen was the kindest, gentlest soul.”

Stephen was introduced to his partner by Elton John and Furnish, and married him in a civil partnership in 2006.

Graham McDowell, who lives in a neighbouring building, said: “He was totally genuine. I sat near him a couple of times on flights and got chatting to him.

“He was a very quiet person. On one flight I met him on I asked if he'd like a glass of wine as I was getting one.

“His reaction was, ‘Actually I'll just have an orange juice. I rarely drink’.”

Boyzone manager Louis Walsh described Stephen as “one of the nicest people you could ever meet”.

The pop mogul was informed of the tragedy after X Factor was screened on Saturday night.

“I'm in total shock — I didn't sleep all night,” said Louis, who first met Stephen in 1993 when he was putting Boyzone together.

Louis told of how he had been out with Stephen just days before he died.

“He was never happier when I met him last Monday at the Pride of Britain Awards.

“I still can't believe he's gone.

“He was one of the nicest people you could meet.”

The future of Boyzone following Stephen's death is now unclear.

“I don't know what will happen. We'd picked 30 songs to work on for the next album and we were also planning a book — but no one has come to terms yet with the fact that Stephen's gone.”

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