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Boyzone manager Louis Walsh pays tribute to Stephen Gately

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Boyzone manager Louis Walsh has paid tribute to the late Stephen Gately, who died unexpectedly on Saturday of “natural causes”. Louis, who was a close friend of Stephen, described Gately as a “one-off”. He stated: “We’re all in shock. Nobody can believe it — the guys, me, nobody. We are in shock. The boys are devastated. It’s like they have lost their very, very best friend, and [for me] me too.”

Gately, at a performance earlier this year.
Image: MangakaMaiden.

Walsh, who is a judge on The X Factor, was absent from his seat on the judges panel of the show Sunday. Fellow judge Simon Cowell paid tribute to Gately and expressed his sympathy for the family. “This is really, really tragic news,” Cowell expressed. “I want to send out my condolences to the family. Our thoughts are with Louis, obviously he’s not here tonight. He was incredibly close, he did a lot for Stephen.”

Louis also said: “He came from Sheriff Street [in Dublin, Ireland].

“He was a very working-class kid. All he wanted to do was sing and go to the West End and he loved Disney, that was Stephen. Of all the people I’ve worked with I don’t think anybody thanked me as much as Stephen. He used to always say to me, ‘If I wasn’t in Boyzone I don’t know where I’d be today, thank you’… [he was] a great, great, great professional kid.”

Stephen Gately had played a crucial part in the reforming of Boyzone in 2008, after they had split up in 2000. The group were going to London, England to discuss tracks to appear on a new album. Walsh mentioned how Gately was filled with fear. “He lived in fear,” said Walsh when referring to Gately’s declaration of homosexuality in 1999. “He lived in absolute fear of the media and the media outed him in the end but then it was a fantastic reaction. There was no negativity.”

Louis Walsh also announced today that a funeral will be expected to take place in Dublin on Saturday. Gately was born and grew up in the city.

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Some information contained in this article was obtained from television, radio, or live webcast sources. Reporter’s notes and the broadcast source details are available at the collaboration page.