Boyzone singer Stephen Gately, 33, who caused a sensation in the pop world 10 years ago by announcing he was gay, died while on holiday in Mallorca, Spain, the Irish pop group's official website said today. "Stephen tragically died whilst on holiday in Mallorca yesterday," the announcement said. It said Gately was staying on the Spanish holiday resort island with his partner, Andrew Cowles, and that other members of the band would fly there today.
The News of the World newspaper reported on its website that Gately had died after having a few drinks. "It looks like he went out for a few drinks, then got back, fell asleep and never woke up," the newspaper quoted an unnamed friend of the singer as saying. The five-member band, put together by pop impresario Louis Walsh, who also assembled Girls Aloud and Westlife, was most popular in Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Asia and Britain.
It had six number one hits on the British pop charts between 1994 and 2000, including "Stay" in 2001. The group officially split up in 2000 when Ronan Keating set off on a solo career, but they reunited for various events in 2007-2008. Gately's coming out a decade ago as a member of a group whose main audience was young teenage girls caused a sensation in the pop world. He and Cowles were married in a civil union in 2006.