Boyzone slept on the church floor next to Stephen Gately's coffin as singer 'didn't want to be alone'

Boyzone slept on the church floor next to Stephen Gately's coffin as singer 'didn't want to be alone'
The Boyzone band members spent the entire night next to Stephan Gately's (L) coffin after his untimely death (Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images)

MAJORCA, SPAIN: Boyzone member Stephen Gately died at the young age of 33 on October 10, 2009, leaving his bandmates devastated. The singer, who had undiagnosed heart disease, breathed his last at his vacation house in Majorca. In a recent interview with Sky News, his bandmate Ronan Keating remembered how the group bid farewell to Gately in a touching fashion.

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Once the news of his death broke, Gately's Boyzone bandmates Ronan Keating, Keith Duffy, Shane Lynch, and Mikey Graham soon took a flight out to the Spanish island to bring their 'brother' home. The four men carried Gately's coffin on its last voyage at his funeral on a somber morning as the entire working-class neighborhood of North Strand in Dublin, where Gately grew up, were outside in their gardens by 9 am. 

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The church was lined with Gately's favorite flower, lilies, on every aisle, and the walls were covered with portraits of the celebrity from throughout his life. Gifts placed at the altar by loved ones included a Mickey Mouse teddy bear to represent his passion for Disney and "belief in fairy tales." Besides, some left moisturizer to represent his love of beauty items, and a microphone to represent his voice.

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Numerous celebrities, including George Michael, David and Victoria Beckham, Take That, U2, Simon Cowell, Robbie Williams, Cheryl Cole, Sharon Osborne, and Colin Farrell, sent their condolences. However, Boyzone's eulogy—in which Keating fought to speak through his tears—was the most heartbreaking. Keating's voice quivered as he said, "We have lost a brother and I have lost my wingman. He will live on in our songs and whenever us four are together, his spirit is alive. But it will never be the same without him."

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"A beautiful man who is now the perfect angel. Forever young and never forgotten. A man, a friend, a brother, a son, a husband and a hero," Keating added after pausing to catch his breath. "I'm going to really miss you brother, I love you, we always will. But we know you've found peace. Perfect peace."

Boyzone perform on stage at the 02 Arena on May 30, 2008 in London, England.
Boyzone perform on stage at the 02 Arena on May 30, 2008 in London, England (Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

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Keating sang the song 'Happiness' and also swore to finish the fantasy novel Gately had been working on, 'The Tree of Seasons', before the band raised Gately's coffin and escorted him out of the church for a private cremation at Glasnevin Cemetery. And as a final show of dedication, it was revealed that the band had spent the previous night camping out on the floor of St Laurence O'Toole Roman Catholic church to keep Stephen's coffin company.

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The bandmates made the bold decision because his heartbroken mother was worried that her son didn't "want to be alone." They laid out their sleeping bags on the ground and kept watch. "We cried and we laughed and we could hear him telling us jokes and we could hear him answering back...," Keating told Sky News, describing the experience as "beautiful and amazing."

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The bandmates left the chapel at around six in the morning and gave away their sleeping bags to the fans who had spent the night outside. They remembered their dear friend during an emotional late-night supper with manager Louis Walsh, Westlife, and David Furnish after saying a final, bittersweet farewell. All the loved ones gathered at the Four Seasons hotel in Dublin after the service to share memories about Gately, drink vintage champagne, and sing late into the night.

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