Belfast Telegraph

Boyzone's Stephen Gately didn't die from drugs, says grieving family

Boyzone star Stephen Gately is believed to have died after falling ill in his sleep following a night out.

Spanish police were last night following a line of inquiry that the 33-year-old died of natural causes, and believe he may have choked after getting sick.

However, a post-mortem examination on the singer will not take place until tomorrow because it is a bank holiday in Spain today.

The popular Dubliner, originally from Sherriff Street in the north-inner city, was in Majorca with his husband Andrew Cowles when the tragedy happened.

Mr Cowles told friends that he put Stephen down on a sofa in their apartment in Port Andratx at around 6am on Saturday.

They had been out drinking on Friday night with another friend, who police are keen to talk to, and were also seen in a local nightclub.

But Mr Cowles found Stephen dead on the sofa at around 1.45pm on Saturday and immediately dialled 999.

Police quickly established that the death was not suspicious and also say that there was no evidence of drug taking.

Stephen and his partner owned the luxury apartment, worth over €1m, in the south west of Majorca.

The Boyzone star is understood to have been spending time there working on his children's novel 'The Tree of Seasons', which he hoped to release in time for Christmas.

Last Tuesday, he posted on his Twitter website: "Still busy -- lots going on. Focussing (sic) on finishing my book next so may be quiet here."

Solicitor Gerald Kean -- a long-term personal friend of the singer -- is acting as the Gately family adviser. They were too upset to talk to the media last night.

They have yet to decide if they will travel to Majorca but the four other members of Boyzone flew out last night, including Ronan Keating, who was supposed to be running a marathon in Chicago for the Marie Keating Foundation.

Band manager Louis Walsh also pulled out of hit show 'The X Factor' last night.

It is expected that Stephen's body will not be returned to Ireland until the end of this week at the earliest.

Band members Keith Duffy, Ronan Keating, Mikey Graham and Shane Lynch released a statement yesterday in which they said they were "devastated by the loss of our friend and brother".

"We have shared such wonderful times together over the years and we were looking forward to sharing so many more. Stephen was a beautiful person in both body and spirit."

Stephen had only travelled back to Majorca in the last few days.

He was at an awards ceremony in London on Monday and also attended former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern's book launch in Dublin last week.

The death is expected to be dealt with by an investigating judge in Spain.

He will be tasked with reviewing the results of the post mortem and a report from investigators who arrived on the scene.

A friend of Stephen and Andrew, Stephen Purdew, who owns the Champneys chain of health spas in the UK, said: "I got a text from Andrew this morning to say he's absolutely devastated.

"He'd put Stephen on the settee at six o'clock, thought he was going to sleep and found him dead when he woke up. It appears he died as people do when they've drunk too much."

Stephen Gately is survived by his older brothers Mark and Alan, his younger brother Tony and his sister Michelle, as well as his mother Margaret and father Martin.

Mr Kean also ruled out suicide as a cause of the star's death.

"There's no foul play involved and it's not suicide. It's just a tragic accident is what we've been told and we're happy that that is correct information," Mr Kean said.

"There is nothing untoward, it's not drugs, we don't believe, it's not suicide, it's not murder, it's not a fight. That's what we've been told."

Mr Kean said the family was shattered by the news, which they heard late on Saturday.

"They're devastated and they asked me to take calls for the moment," he said.

Mr Kean attributed the death to natural causes.

The family hope to have the remains returned to Ireland by the end of the week, for the funeral in Dublin.

Mr Kean said the family had not yet decided to travel to Majorca.

Boyzone stars Ronan Keating, Keith Duffy, Shane Lynch and Mikey Graham were last night dressed in dark clothes and wore sunglasses as they arrived at the apartment where Gately died.

They were driven into an underground car park underneath the flat around 8.30pm local time in a silver-coloured Mercedes people carrier.

They entered the apartment block through a side entrance without saying anything.

Belfast Telegraph


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