Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 12 July 2014

Walsh left 'completely broken' by Gately's death

Louis Walsh attends the funeral of Boyzone singer Stephen Gately at St Laurence O'Toole Church in Dublin

Louis Walsh told today how he and Boyzone had been left "completely broken" by the death of "the life and soul of the party", Stephen Gately.

In a moving tribute, Walsh remembered the late chart star fondly and said the band members had lost a "brother".

But he acknowledged he had still not come to terms with the fact he would not see his face again.

Walsh felt unable to speak at today's funeral because the loss was still too raw, so he instead wrote about his feelings.

The Boyzone manager, who assembled the band in the early 1990s, wrote:

"When I first met Stephen he was a young boy with a dream to be a pop star and performer, over 15 years later and he fulfilled all those dreams, being part of one of the most successful boy bands, who sold over 20 million albums worldwide, and landing the lead role in Joseph, fulfilling his dream of performing on the West End, and of course finding love in partner Andy.

"Stephen was one of life's positive people with a lovely nature and he was someone who always had a smile on his face. He loved to laugh and joke and was always the life and soul of the party and would give everyone he met his time.

"He would always thank me for the success he'd gained through Boyzone but on reflection I should be the one to have thanked him as he brought so much into my life, and the career I've loved in pop music is largely down to Stephen and the rest of Boyzone.

"I have still not come to terms with the fact that I won't see Stephen again, I keep expecting him to just turn up with a big grin on his face and deliver a cheeky wisecrack.

"Just last week we had such a great night at the Pride of Britain Awards, Stephen wanted to join the table Sharon (Osbourne) and I were on and he kept popping over being as mischievous as ever, I can't believe I won't have nights like that with him again.

"I and all of Boyzone are completely broken, I've lost one of my best friends and Boyzone have lost a brother. The bond between the five was just amazing. They were always there for each other and always supported each other in everything that they did. The way the four guys have rallied around each other, Andy and Stephen's family this week is testament to the brotherhood of the group, I've truly never seen such closer bonds between anyone.

"We all want to celebrate Stephen's life and remember him for all the warmth, humour and love that Stephen exuded. I know Stephen wouldn't want us to mourn for him, but it is going to take all of us some time to get over the shock of losing someone we all loved so much. But I'll remember Stephen for all the fun nights we had where we'd fall about laughing and joking.

"Andy and the family have asked that any donations go to Caudwell Children, for whom Stephen was an ambassador."

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