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Obituary: Stephen Gately

Stephen Gateley

Obituary by Jack Foley

STEPHEN Gately has died suddely at the age of 33, while on holiday in Majorca.

The Boyzone singer also made a name for himself in London’s West End, in shows such as Joseph and The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, and was a fan favourite on ITV1 show Dancing on Ice.

Born in the working class Sheriff Street area of Dublin, Gately joined Boyzone in 1993 after answering an advert in Dublin to audition for a new boy band being created by X-Factor judge Louis Walsh with the intention of creating an Irish version of Take That.

Walsh said that he and fellow singer Ronan Keating immediately stood out in their respective auditions.

The group subsequently went on to enjoy major success with a cover version of The Osmonds’ song Love Me For A Reason in 1994, which reached No.2 in the UK chart, before following that up with further hits Father And Son (a Cat Stevens’ cover) and Words (by The Bee Gees).

Despite building a career from cover versions, they soon enjoyed further success with their own songs – but then announced they were taking a break at the end of the decade and pursuded solo projects.

Around the same time, Gately announced he was gay, even though “coming out” was deemed a brave act at the time, but it was something that he felt he owed his fans to reveal.

In a statement at the time, he said: “This is the hardest thing I have ever had to do but I owe it to our fans – as well as myself – to be completely honest. I know this may come as a bombshell to our followers.

“Many of them may be upset. I only hope they understand how important it is for me to reveal that I am gay.”

Sadly, Gately’s own solo career post-Boyzone failed to reach the same heights as the band’s success, or even that of Ronan Keating, and he later admitted that he sunk into depression.

But after the failure of his “coming out” relationship with Dutch performer Eloy de Jong in 2002 and returned to Dublin, where he was introduced to internet businessman Andrew Cowles by Sir Elton John and beame a couple.

Having found new happiness in life, Gately hit the comeback trail and appeared on the West End stage in musicals such as Joseph and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, before being embraced by a nation of viewers hooked on Dancing on Ice.

Boyzone then decided to hit the comeback trail in 2007, following the huge success of the Take That reunion.

Their first performance was for BBC’s Children In Need that same year and fans snapped up 250,000 tickets for 10 concerts on a UK tour last summer.

They went on the road again this year and a new Boyzone album had been scheduled for 2010.

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