Thousands gathered outside a church in Dublin City today, to hear the funeral of pop star Stephen Gately from Boyzone, who died suddenly, at the age of 33 whilst on holiday in Majorca, last week.
Loudspeakers broadcast the service from the church of St Laurence O`Toole in Sheriff Street. Among the mourners inside the packed service was Stephen's long-term partner, Andrew Coles, his parents Margaret and Martin, Boyzone band members, and members of Westlife. Former Prime Minister Bertie Ahearn, the Lord Mayor of Dublin, Vanessa Feltz and Lous Walsh, who created Boyzone in 1993.
The remaining members of Boyzone, lead by Ronan Keating, had kept an all night vigil in the church last night where some slept in sleeping bags. Stephen's mother Margaret said that she didn`t want her son left alone in the church over night.
In his homily, Father Declan Blake said: " we are all in deep shock and Stephen was a man of deep faith, a kind and caring man".
Boyzone band members sang and paid individual tributes during the Mass. Ronan Keating sang the hymn, In this Life. In an emotional tribute, Ronan said: " we lost a man, a friend, a husband, a brother, and we know you have found perfect peace. You are a beautiful man who is now a perfect angel". Many in the congregation applauded as he broke down in tears.
Other Boyzone band members Keith Duffy, Mikey Graham and Shane Lynch paid their own tributes, which were deeply moving. At the end of the Mass Ronan thanked Fr Declan for his support for Boyzone over the past week, through what he said had been their "darkest days".
Instead of flowers, mourners were asked to make donations to the Caudwell Children Charity, for which Gately was an ambassador.The courtege then made its way slowly through the streets of Dublin to Glasnevin Cemetery where Stephen was cremated. The funeral is being followed by a wake this evening in a Dublin hotel.