Shock greets news of Boyzone member's death
The music world is shocked with the untimely death of Boyzone star Stephen Gately, with many expressing grief.
His bandmates, Ronan Keating, Keith Duffy, Mikey Graham and Shane Lynch said: 'We are completely devastated by the loss of our friend and brother, Stephen.
'We have shared such wonderful times together over the years and were all looking forward to sharing many more.
'Stephen was a beautiful person in both body and spirit. He lit up our lives and those of the many friends he had all over the world.
'Our love and sympathy go out to Andrew and Stephen''s family. We love you and will miss you forever, Steo.'
Sir Elton John and partner David Furnish also sent their condolences to Gately's gay partner.
'David and I are stunned by this tragedy. Stephen was the kindest, gentlest soul,' the Sun quoted John as saying. 'We send our love and condolences to his partner Andy and to all his friends everywhere.'
Former Spice Girl Emma Bunton expressed her sadness through a post on social networking website Twitter.
'Devastating news about Stephen Gately, I saw him Monday and had a chat, he was always such a sweetheart. Thinking of his family at this time,' she wrote.
Gately died because of an eight-hour drinking binge, it has emerged. He was 33.
Image: Stephen Gately during a tour of Mumbai in 200
Photographs: Savita Kirloskar/Reuters
'Stephen was totally trashed'
The pop star had gone on a night out with civil partner Andy Cowles to the gay club 'Black Cat' at Majorca's capital Palma.
The pair was reportedly seen gulping down potent cocktails and white wine in the bar.
Later, they met 25-year-old Bulgarian Giorgi Duchev, with whom they returned to their 1-million-pound apartment to continue drinking, reports The Sun.
A partygoer, who shared a drink with them, said, 'Stephen was totally trashed.'
Andy had apparently gone off to sleep at around 5.30am, with Stephen lying asleep on a sofa, before finding him dead at mid-day.
Stephen was positioned in a strange 'prayer position' -- squatting on the floor with his head face down on a pillow on the sofa.
Police have suggested he choked on his vomit.
'We do not believe there is foul play'
'Andy said he'd screamed, 'Wake up! Wake up!' at him. He also tried mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. When everything failed he even slapped him across the face,' The Sun quoted a pal as saying.
'But doctors later confirmed Stephen's lungs had filled with fluid. There was nothing Andy could have done. He had drowned and asphyxiated,' the pal added.
A post mortem is expected to take place soon. Meanwhile, cops are presently trying to trace Duchev.
A source said, 'We do not believe there is foul play but his testimony is vital.'
It looks like he went out for a few drinks, then got back, fell asleep and never woke up, the News of The World quoted the pal as saying.
Gately, who was born in Ireland in March 1976, had joined Boyzone in 1993. He got through the audition process before joining Ireland's first boyband. Gately and Ronan Keating were the lead vocalists of the band.
Image: Boyzone members Mikey Graham (left) and Ronan Keating arrive at Son San Joan airport on Sunday
Photographs: STR New/Reuters
'This is a huge tragedy'
Keating, who is currently in Chicago, is apparently distraught after hearing the news. He flew to Majorca with the remaining members on Sunday.
A pal said, 'Ronan is completely distraught. No one saw this coming. He loved Stephen like a brother, they were so close, it's absolutely floored him. It's a massive shock to everyone and no one can take it in yet. He was a man in the prime of his life, and this is a huge tragedy.'
The gay singer had married partner Andrew Cowles in a civil union in March 2006.
Gately was recently seen at the Pride of Britain Awards.
Image: Boyzone members Keith Duffy (left) and Mikey Graham
Photographs: STR New/Reuters