Belfast Telegraph

Gerald Kean: I had to break news of Stephen Gately's death to the band

As Stephen's solicitor and friend of many years, his family rang me straight away on Saturday night from Majorca to tell me the awful news.

I've handled the band's affairs since they first started. I told all the band members immediately and naturally they were all devastated.

No official cause of death has yet been confirmed. I don't want to go into that too much, but what I can say is that it definitely was not suicide.

It's a terrible, terrible tragedy. An autopsy report is expected to be carried out in the next few days and then we'll be able to give a definitive answer.

Obviously as his solicitor, I can't divulge too much personal information about Stephen's situation but he was mainly based in London recently.

He was a great family man and visited his parents and the rest of his family in Dublin regularly.

He first applied for the Boyzone auditions in 1994 and I've been a friend of his since then. He's one of the most popular men I've ever met in my life.

I asked him on many occasions how he did it. His music accomplishments were unprecedented. He enjoyed huge success with Boyzone and when he took to the West End during their break he was equally popular there.

Not many bands, including the Beatles, could boast that their first 10 singles went straight into the top 30 charts.

He had praise from some of the best singers and musicians in the world, including Andrew Lloyd Webber and Elton John, and I know the tributes will be flowing in for him.

I've tons of memories of him. I have so many that I couldn't pick out one specific example. Every time I asked him to help at a charity event or to lend his name to something he was more than happy to oblige.

He was just a soft mannered, gifted singer. My opinion wouldn't carry the weight of some of the people who have paid tribute to him in the past. I don't know anyone who has a bad word to say about him.

I remember one time we were asked to do a charity benefit together and even though he had just come back from a tour and was extremely jet-lagged and exhausted, he dropped everything and came straight over.

I know there will be a lot of people in the music industry and every other area of life who are devastated.

I've met his husband Andrew Cowles.

I'm still in complete shock myself, right now I'm just keeping myself busy on the phone and trying to work things out and dealing with the undertakers in trying to arrange for his body to be flown home as quickly as possible.

At this point it's looking like it's certainly going to be a couple of days before the family can even think about planning a funeral.

He was a wonderful young man and they are all devastated naturally, as are his bandmates.

Source: Evening Herald

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